Daniel 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;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
IX.

(1) On Darius the Mede see Excursus D.

Was made king.—The phrase corresponds with “took the kingdom” (Daniel 5:31), and shows that Darius was not king by his own right, but that he received his authority from another—i.e., Cyrus.

Daniel 9:1-2. In the first year of Darius — That is, immediately after the overthrow of the kingdom of Babylon, which was the year of the Jews’ deliverance from captivity. This Darius was not Darius the Persian, under whom the temple was built, as some have asserted, to invalidate the credibility of this book; but Darius the Mede, who lived in the time of Daniel, and is called Cyaxares, the son of Astyages, by the heathen historians: see note on chap. Daniel 6:1. In the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood by books, &c. — Namely, by the several prophecies of Jeremiah 25:11-12; Jeremiah 29:10, which are called so many books: see Jeremiah 25:13; Jeremiah 30:2. We may learn from hence, that the later prophets studied the writings of those prophets who were before them, especially for the more perfect understanding of the times when their prophecies were to be fulfilled. The same they did by several of their own prophecies. That he would accomplish seventy years, &c. — Concerning the time from whence these seventy years are to be dated, see note on Jeremiah 25:11-12. Daniel saw a part of Jeremiah’s prediction fulfilled, by the vengeance which the Lord had taken upon the house of Nebuchadnezzar; but he saw no appearance of that deliverance of the Jews which the prophet foretold. This was the cause of his uneasiness, and the motive of his prayers.

9:1-3 Daniel learned from the books of the prophets, especially from Jeremiah, that the desolation of Jerusalem would continue seventy years, which were drawing to a close. God's promises are to encourage our prayers, not to make them needless; and when we see the performance of them approaching, we should more earnestly plead them with God.In the first year of Darius - See the notes at Daniel 5:31, and Introuction to Daniel 6 Section II. The king here referred to under this name was Cyaxares II, who lived between Astyages and Cyrus, and in whom was the title of king. He was the immediate successor of Belshazzar, and was the predecessor of Cyrus, and was the first of the foreign princes that reigned over Babylon. On the reasons why he is called in Daniel Darius, and not Cyaxares, see the Introduction to Daniel 6, Section II. Of course, as he preceded Cyrus, who gave the order to rebuild the temple Ezra 1:1, this occurred before the close of the seventy years of the captivity.

The son of Ahasuerus - Or the son of Astyages. See Introduction to Daniel 6 Section II. It was no unusual thing for the kings of the East to have several names, and one writer might refer to them under one name, and another under another.

Of the seed of the Medes - Of the race of the Medes. See as above.

Which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans - By conquest. He succeeded Belshazzar, and was the immediate predecessor of Cyrus. Cyaxares II ascended the throne of Media, according to the common chronology, 561 b.c. Babylon was taken by Cyrus, acting under the authority of Cyaxares, 538 b.c., and, of course, the reign of Cyaxares, or Darius, over Babylon commenced at that point, and that would be reckoned as the "first year" of his reign. He died 536 b.c., and Cyrus succeeded him; and as the order to rebuild the temple was in the first year of Cyrus, the time referred to in this chapter, when Daniel represents himself as meditating on the close of the captivity, and offering this prayer, cannot long have preceded that order. He had ascertained that the period of the captivity was near its close, and he naturally inquired in what way the restoration of the Jews to their own land was to be effected, and by what means the temple was to be rebuilt.

CHAPTER 9

Da 9:1-27. Daniel's Confession and Prayer for Jerusalem: Gabriel Comforts Him by the Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks.

The world powers here recede from view; Israel, and the salvation by Messiah promised to it, are the subject of revelation. Israel had naturally expected salvation at the end of the captivity. Daniel is therefore told, that, after the seventy years of the captivity, seventy times seven must elapse, and that even then Messiah would not come in glory as the Jews might through misunderstanding expect from the earlier prophets, but by dying would put away sin. This ninth chapter (Messianic prophecy) stands between the two visions of the Old Testament Antichrist, to comfort "the wise." In the interval between Antiochus and Christ, no further revelation was needed; therefore, as in the first part of the book, so in the second, Christ and Antichrist in connection are the theme.

1. first year of Darius—Cyaxares II, in whose name Cyrus, his nephew, son-in-law, and successor, took Babylon, 538 B.C. The date of this chapter is therefore 537 B.C., a year before Cyrus permitted the Jews to return from exile, and sixty-nine years after Daniel had been carried captive at the beginning of the captivity, 606 B.C.

son of Ahasuerus—called Astyages by Xenophon. Ahasuerus was a name common to many of the kings of Medo-Persia.

made king—The phrase implies that Darius owed the kingdom not to his own prowess, but to that of another, namely, Cyrus.Daniel, considering the time of the captivity, Daniel 9:1,2, maketh confession of his people’s sins, Daniel 9:3-15, and prayeth for the restoration of Jerusalem, Daniel 9:16-19. Gabriel informeth him of the seventy weeks, and of the time and death of the Messiah, and of the succeeding troubles, Daniel 9:20-27.

In the first year of Darius; that is, immediately after the overthrow of the kingdom of Babylon, which was also the year of the Jews’ deliverance from their seventy years’ captivity; therefore punctually here set down. The Lord hath carefully recorded the several periods of time that relate to his church, and the signal providences both of mercy or judgment exercised towards it; for hereby God is glorified in the signal displaying of his attributes, and the saints’ graces exercised, especially faith and patience, by calling to mind what God hath done in time past, Psalm 77:5-7. This Darius was not Darius the Persian, under whom the temple was built, as Porphyrius would have it, that thereby he might persuade unlearned men that Daniel lived long after the time that he did live in. Therefore this is called Darius the Mede, and by the Greeks called Cyaxares.

Which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; and this is confirmed by Xenophon.

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes,.... This is the same with Darius the Median, that took the kingdom after the death of Belshazzar; so called, to distinguish him from Darius the Persian; and yet Porphyry has the gall to assert that this was Darius the Persian, under whom the temple was built, that Daniel might appear to live later than he did: Ahasuerus, whose son he was, is not he that was the husband of Esther, and was many years later than this; but the same with Astyages king of the Medes, and who is called Ahasuerus, in the Apocrypha:

"But before he died he heard of the destruction of Nineve, which was taken by Nabuchodonosor and Assuerus: and before his death he rejoiced over Nineve.'' (Tobit 14:15)

the father of Cyaxares, the same with this Darius, who was uncle to Cyrus that conquered Babylon, and made him king of it, and of the whole empire; for this was not the first year of his reign over Media, where he had reigned many years before, but over Chaldea, as follows:

which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; by Cyrus his nephew; who having taken Babylon, and settled his affairs, undertook a journey to Persia, and made Media in his way; where he met with his uncle Cyaxares, the same with this Darius, and delivered the kingdom of Babylon to him, and married his daughter, with whom he had for her dowry the kingdom of Media, as Xenophon (y) relates. Now it was in the first year of his reign over the Chaldeans that Daniel had the following vision of the seventy weeks; which, according to Bishop Usher (z) and Mr. Whiston (a), was in the year of the world 3467 A.M. and 537 B.C. Dean Prideaux (b) places it in the year 538; and Mr. Bedford (c) in the year 536.

(y) Cyropaedia, l. 8. c. 36. (z) Annales Vet. Test. A. M. 3467. (a) Chronological Tables, cent. 10. (b) Connexion, &c. part 1. p. 125, 128. (c) Scripture Chronology, p. 711.

In the first year of Darius the son of {a} Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the {b} realm of the Chaldeans;

(a) Who was also called Astyages.

(b) For Cyrus led with ambition, and went about wars in other countries, and therefore Darius had the title of the kingdom, even though Cyrus was king in effect.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. Darius] i.e. ‘Darius the Mede,’ Daniel 5:31 : cf. Daniel 6:1 ff. The date is fixed suitably: the first year after the conquest of Babylon would be a time when, in view of the promises of Jeremiah and the second Isaiah (e.g. Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:13), thoughts of restoration would naturally be stirring in the minds of the Jewish exiles.

the son of Ahasuerus] Ahasuerus,—properly ’Ǎchashwçrôsh, also in Ezra 4:6, and Esther, passim—is the Hebrew form of the Persian Khshayârshâ, the Greek Xerxes, called in contemporary Aramaic Chshiarsh (חשׁיארשׁ)[331]. Cf. p. liv, and on Daniel 5:31.

[331] See the writer’s Introduction, p. 512 (ed. 6, p. 546), note.

of the seed of the Medes] See Daniel 5:31. For the expression cf. Esther 6:13.

was made king] See on Daniel 5:31, ‘received the kingdom.’

Verses 1-27. - THE SEVENTY WEEKS. This is the chapter of Daniel which has occasioned most controversy. It was appealed to by Tertullian and the early Fathers as a demonstration of the correctness of our Lord's claims to Messiahship. It is now received by critical commentators that to our Lord this prophecy cannot refer. Many treatises have been written on the "seventy weeks" of Daniel, and none of them have entirely cleared up the difficulties; indeed, it may be doubted whether all together they have illuminated the subject very much. Verses 1, 2. - 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; in the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord same to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. The version of the Septuagint goes on the assumption that the critics are correct in their belief that the author of Daniel imagined a Median Empire between the Babylonian and the Persian.

(1) In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes, of the seed of the Medes who, that is, the Medes - the LXX. seems to have read malkoo instead of homlak - "reigned over the kingdom of the Chaldeans.

(2) In the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood by the books the number of the years when the ordinance (πρόσταγμα) about the land was (revealed) to Jeremiah the prophet to accomplish seventy years to the fulfilment of the reproach of Jerusalem." Theodotion is closer to the Massoretic, only he does not seem to have read the hophal of "reign," but the kal. Further, Theodotion omits the second statement of the year of Darius, with which, both in the LXX. and in the Massoretic, the second verse begins. We have in Tertullian a few verses from this chapter in the Old Latin Version, called sometimes the Vetus. It coincides exactly with neither of the Greek Versions, nor with the Massoretic, but is in closer relationship with Theodotion. The Peshitta in the first agrees in the main with the Massoretic texf, but renders the second verse thus: "In the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood in the book the number of years; I saw what was the ordinance of the number which Jeremiah the prophet had said concerning the completion of the desolation of Jerusalem - seventy years." Theodotion, the Vetus, the Peshitta, and also Jerome, neglect the fact that הָמְלַד (hom'lak) is hophal, and translate as if the word were kal. This neglect is due to the difficulty of understanding the semi-satrapial position occupied by Gobryas. He had regal powers given him to appoint satraps in the divisions of the province of Babylonia. Not improbably, further, be could fulfil certain sacred functions which customarily only a king could fulfil. This is the only case where the hophal of this verb occurs. Such a unique use of a verb must imply unique circumstances; such unique circumstances existed in the position of Gobryas in Babylon. Only a contemporary would have indicated this singular state of matters by the use of an out-of-the way portion of a verb without further explanation. It is singular that critics will not give the obvious meaning to the persistent indications that the author of this book gives, that he regards Darius, not as an independent sovereign, but as in some sort a vassal of a higher power, on whom he is dependent. Of the seed of the Medes. This statement naturally implies that while Darius was of Median descent, he was naturalized into some other race. In the first year of his reign. This phrase has the appearance of representing the original beginning of the narrative. Probably there were originally two recensions of this narrative, one of them beginning with the first verse, the other with some modification of the second verse which has been still further modified till it has reached its present form. The year indicated corresponds to B.C. 538, the year of the capture of Babylon, therefore sixty-eight years from the time that Daniel was carried captive. The period, then, which had been foretold by Jeremiah during which the Jews were to be captive and Jerusalem desolate, was drawing to a close. According to the critical assumption, that this date is to be reckoned from the captivity of Jehoiachin ( B.C. 598), there were yet ten years to run, and if it reckoned from the capture of Jerusalem during the reign of Zedekiah, there were twenty years. There is a certain dramatic suitability, if no more, in Daniel studying the prophecies of Jeremiah, with always growing eagerness as the time approached when God had promised release. I Daniel understood by books. The critical school have assumed that this phrase "books" applies, and must apply, to the canon; therefore it is concluded that this book was written after the formation of the canon, and therefore very late. Unforth-nately for the assumption brought forward, aephareem is by no means invariably used collectively for the books of the Bible, but K'thubim, e.g. Talmud Babli Shabbath (Mishna), p. 115a, was also used. Many of the cases where sephareem appears it is used distributively, not collectively; e.g. Talmud Babli Megillah (Mishna), p. 8b. From the fact that the same word was used for the third division of the canon, and for the books of the canon as a whole, there was liable to be a difficulty, and hence confusion. Traces of this we find in the prologue to the Greek Version of Ecclesiasticus. Thus in the first sentence the translator speaks of "the Law, the Prophets, and the others (τῶν ἄλλων)," as if τῶν βιβλίων were mentally supplied before νόμου. While sepher is used for any individual book of Scripture, and sephareem used for a group of these books, as the Books of Moses, it is not used for the Bible as a whole, just as in English we never call the Bible "the books," but not unfrequently "the Scriptures; "on the other hand, we speak of "the Books of Moses," never of the "Scriptures of Moses." If sephareem does not mean the canon, what does it mean? We know from Jeremiah 29:1 that Jeremiah sent to the exiles a "letter," and in that letter (ver. 10) it is said, "For thus saith the Lord, After seventy years be accomplished for Babylon, I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you in causing you to return to this place." It is true that this letter is called sepher in Jeremiah, but in 2 Kings 19:14 and Isaiah 37:14 we have sephareem the plural, used for a single letter. This is proved by the fact that in Isaiah all the suffixes referring to it are singular; in Kings one is in the plural by attraction, but the other is singular as in Isaiah. The correct rendering of the passage, then, is, "I Daniel understood by the letter the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet." It is clear that the reference in this verse is to Jeremiah's letter, for we have the use of יחוה, Jahw (Jehovah), which out of this chapter does not appear in this book; we have in this verse מַלִּאת, which we have in Jeremiah 29:10; it is vocalized as infinitive piel in Daniel, and infinitive kal in Jeremiah, but there is probably some error in Daniel. Another peculiarity which connects this passage with the "letter" of Jeremiah is the form the prophet's name assumes. In the rest of his prephecy it is usually called יִרְמְיָהוּ (Yir'myahoo); in the section of which the 'letter forms part, as in this verse in Daniel, he is called יִרְמְיָה (Yir'myah). It is thus clear that Daniel had in his mind Jeremiah's "letter;" hence it is far-fetched to imagine that he claims acquaintance with all the books of the Hebrew canon, in order to know the contents of a letter. Even a falsarius of the most ignorant sort would scarcely fail to avoid the blunder attributed to the author of Daniel by critics. How do the critics harmonize their explanation of this verse with their theory that the canon closed in B.C. 105, while Daniel was written in the year B.C. 168. It would be as impossible for an author to speak of the canon in terms which denote it being long fixed, sixty years before it was actually collected, as four hundred years. The impossible has no degrees. That he would accomplish seventy years. That seventy years would fulfil the period of desolation to Jerusalem. It is to be noted that the word translated here "accomplish" occurs in Jeremiah's letter in regard to this very period (Jeremiah 29:10). The word for "desolations" is connected by Furst with "drought;" it is also connected with the word for "a sword." The date at which the vision related in the chapter was given was, as we have seen, shortly after the fall of Babylon. The period set by God, if we date from Daniel's own captivity, was rapidly nearing its conclusion. As yet Cyrus had given no sign that he was about to treat the Jews differently from the other nations. The King of Ansan had declared himself - whether from faith or policy we cannot tell - a fervent worshipper of Merodach and the other gods of Babylon: would he not be prone to pursue the policy of the kings of Babylon, whose successor he claimed to be? He had certainly ordered the return to the various cities of the images of those gods which had been brought to Babylon by Nabunahid, but there was no word of the return of the captives of Zion. Would Jehovah be true to his promise or not? Like believers in every age, Daniel takes refuge in prayer. Daniel 9:1Daniel 9:1 and Daniel 9:2 mention the occasion on which the penitential prayer (vv. 3-19) was offered, and the divine revelation following thereupon regarding the time and the course of the oppression of the people of God by the world-power till the completion of God's plan of salvation.

Regarding Darius, the son of Ahasverosch, of the race of the Medes, see under Daniel 6:1. In the word המלך the Hophal is to be noticed: rex constitutus, factus est. It shows that Darius did not become king over the Chaldean kingdom by virtue of a hereditary right to it, nor that he gained the kingdom by means of conquest, but that he received it (קבּל, Daniel 6:1) from the conqueror of Babylon, Cyrus, the general of the army. The first year of the reign of Darius the Mede over the Chaldean kingdom is the year 538 b.c., since Babylon was taken by the Medes and Persians under Cyrus in the year 539-538 b.c. According to Ptolemy, Cyrus the Persian reigned nine years after Nabonadius. But the death of Cyrus, as is acknowledged, occurred in the year 529 b.c. From the nine years of the reign of Cyrus, according to our exposition, two years are to be deducted for Darius the Mede, so that the reign of Cyrus by himself over the kingdom which he founded begins in the year 536, in which year the seventy years of the Babylonish exile of the Jews were completed; cf. The exposition under Daniel 1:1 with the chronological survey in the Com. on the Books of the Kings.

The statement as to the time, Daniel 9:1, is again repeated in the beginning of Daniel 9:2, on account of the relative sentence coming between, so as to connect that which follows with it. We translate (in Daniel 9:2), with Hgstb., Maur., Hitzig, "I marked, or gave heed, in the Scriptures to the number of the years," so that מספּר (number) forms the object to בּינתי (I understood); cf. Proverbs 7:7. Neither the placing of בּספרים (by books) first nor the Atnach under this word controvert this view; for the object is placed after "by books" because a further definition is annexed to it; and the separation of the object from the verb by the Atnach is justified by this consideration, that the passage contains two statements, viz., that Daniel studied the Scriptures, and that his study was directed to the number of the years, etc. בּספרים, with the definite article, does not denote a collection of known sacred writings in which the writings of Jeremiah were included, so that, seeing the collection of the prophets cannot be thought of without the Pentateuch, by this word we are to understand (with Bleek, Gesenius, v. Leng., Hitzig) the recognised collection of the O.T. writings, the Law and the Prophets. For הסּפרים, τὰ βιβλιά, is not synonymous with הכּתוּבים, αἱ γραφαί, but denotes only writings in the plural, but does not say that these writings formed already a recognised collection; so that from this expression nothing can be concluded regarding the formation of the O.T. canon. As little can בּספרים refer, with Hv. and Kran., to the letter of Jeremiah to the exiles (Jeremiah 29), for this reason, that not in Jeremiah 29, but in Jeremiah 25:11., the seventy years of the desolation of the land of Judah, and implic. of Jerusalem, are mentioned. The plur. ספרים also can be understood of a single letter, only if the context demands or makes appropriate this narrower application of the word, as e.g., 2 Kings 19:14. But here this is not the case, since Jeremiah in two separate prophecies speaks of the seventy years, and not in the letter of Jeremiah 29, but only in Jeremiah 25, has he spoken of the seventy years' desolation of the land. In בּספרים lies nothing further than that writings existed, among which were to be found the prophecies of Jeremiah; and the article, the writings, is used, because in the following passage something definite is said of these writings.

In these writings Daniel considered the number of the years of which Jeremiah had prophesied. אשׁר, as Daniel 8:26, with respect to which, relates not to השׁנים, but to השׁנים מספּר (number of the years). It is no objection against this that the repetition of the words "seventy years" stands opposed to this connection (Klief.), for this repetition does not exist, since מספּר does not declare the number of the years. With למלּאת (to fulfil) the contents of the word of Jehovah, as given by Jeremiah, are introduced. לחרבות does not stand for the accusative: to cause to be complete the desolation of Jerusalem (Hitzig), but ל signifies in respect of, with regard to. This expression does not lean on Jeremiah 29:10 (Kran.), but on Jeremiah 25:12 ("when seventy years are accomplished"). חרבות, properly, desolated places, ruins, here a desolated condition. Jerusalem did not certainly lie in ruins for seventy years; the word is not thus to be interpreted, but is chosen partly with regard to the existing state of Jerusalem, and partly with reference to the words of Jeremiah 25:9, Jeremiah 25:11. Yet the desolation began with the first taking of Jerusalem, and the deportation of Daniel and his companions and a part of the sacred vessels of the temple, in the fourth years of Jehoiakim (606 b.c.).

(Note: Thus also the seventy years of the Exile are reckoned in 2 Chronicles 36:21-23; Ezra 1:1. This Ewald also recognises (Proph. iii. p. 430), but thinks that it is not an exact reckoning of the times, but rather, according to Zechariah 1:12 and Daniel 9:25, that the destruction of Jerusalem forms the date of the commencement of the desolation and of the seventy years. But Daniel 9:25 contains no expression, or even intimation, regarding the commencement of the Exile; and in the words of Zechariah 1:12, "against which Thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years," there does not lie the idea that the seventy years prophesied of by Jeremiah came to an end in the second year of Darius Hystaspes. See under this passage.)

Consequently, in the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede over the kingdom of the Chaldeans the seventy years prophesied of by Jeremiah were now full, the period of the desolation of Jerusalem determined by God was almost expired. What was it that moved Daniel at this time to pour forth a penitential prayer in behalf of Jerusalem and the desolated sanctuary? Did he doubt the truth of the promise, that God, after seventy years of exile in Babylon, would visit His people and fulfil the good word He had spoken, that He would again bring back His people to Judea (Jeremiah 29:10)? Certainly not, since neither the matter of his prayer, nor the divine revelation which was vouchsafed to him in answer to his prayer, indicated any doubt on his part regarding the divine promise.

According to the opinion of Bleek and Ewald, it was Daniel's uncertainty regarding the termination of the seventy years which moved him to prayer Bleek (Jahrbb.f. D. Theol. v. p. 71) thus expresses himself on the subject: "This prophecy of Jeremiah might be regarded as fulfilled in the overthrow of the Babylonian kingdom and the termination of the Exile, when the Jews obtained from Cyrus permission to return to their native land and to rebuild their city and temple, but yet not perfectly, so far as with the hope of the return of the people from exile there was united the expectation that they would then turn in truth to their God, and that Jehovah would fulfil all His good promises to them to make them partakers of the Messianic redemption (cf. Jeremiah 29:10., also other prophecies of Jeremiah and of other prophets regarding the return of the people from exile, such as Isaiah 40ff.); but this result was not connected in such extent and fulness with the return of the people and the restoration of the state." On the supposition of the absolute inspiration of the prophets, it appeared therefore appropriate "to regard Jeremiah's prophecy of the seventy years, after the expiry of which God will fulfil His good promises to His people, as stretching out into a later period beyond that to which the seventy years would extend, and on that account to inquire how it was to be properly interpreted." Ewald (Proph. iii. p. 421ff.) is of opinion that these seventy years of Jeremiah did not pass by without the fulfilment of his prophecy, that the ruins of Jerusalem would not continue for ever. Already forty-nine years after its destruction a new city of Jerusalem took the place of the old as the centre of the congregation of the true religion, but the stronger hopes regarding the Messianic consummation which connected itself herewith were neither then, nor in all the long times following, down to that moment in which our author (in the age of the Maccabees) lived and wrote, ever fulfilled. Then the faithful were everywhere again exposed to the severest sufferings, such as they had not experienced since the old days of the destruction of Jerusalem. Therefore the anxious question as to the duration of such persecution and the actual beginning of the Messianic time, which Daniel, on the ground of the mysterious intimation in Daniel 7:12, Daniel 7:25 and Daniel 8:13., regarding the period of the sufferings of the time of the end, sought here to solve, is agitated anew; for he shows how the number of the seventy years of Jeremiah, which had long ago become sacred, yet accorded with these late times without losing its original truth. Thus Ewald argues.

These two critics in their reasoning proceed on the dogmatic ground, which they regard as firmly established, that the book of Daniel is a product of the age of the Maccabees. All who oppose the genuineness of this book agree with them in the view that this chapter contains an attempt, clothed in the form of a divine revelation communicated to the prophet in answer to his prayer, to solve the mystery how Jeremiah's prophecy of the beginning of the Messianic salvation after the seventy years of exile is to be harmonized with the fact that this salvation, centuries after the fall of the Babylonish kingdom and the return of the Jews from the Babylonish exile, had not yet come, but that instead of it, under Antiochus Epiphanes, a time of the severest oppression had come. How does this opinion stand related to the matter of this chapter, leaving out of view all other grounds for the genuineness of the book of Daniel? Does the prayer of Daniel, or the divine revelation communicated to him by means of Gabriel regarding the seventy weeks, contain elements which attest its correctness or probability?

The prayer of Daniel goes forth in the earnest entreaty that the Lord would turn away His anger from the city Jerusalem and His holy mountain, and cause His face to shine on the desolation and on the city that was called by His name (Daniel 9:15-18). If this prayer is connected with the statement in Daniel 9:2, that Daniel was moved thereto by the consideration of the words of Jeremiah regarding the desolation of Jerusalem, we can understand by the ruins, for the removal of which Daniel prayed, only the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple which was brought about by the Chaldeans. Consequently the prayer indicates that the desolation of Jerusalem predicted by Jeremiah and accomplished by Nebuchadnezzar still continued, and that the city and the temple had not yet been rebuilt. This, therefore, must have been in the time of the Exile, and not in the time of Antiochus, who, it is true, desolated the sanctuary by putting an end to the worship of Jehovah and establishing the worship of idols, but did not lay in ruins either the temple or the city.

In his message (Daniel 9:24-27) the angel speaks only of the going forth of the word to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, and present the going forth of this word as the beginning of the seventy weeks of Daniel determined upon the people and the holy city within which Jerusalem must be built, and thus distinguishes the seventy weeks as distinctly as possible from Jeremiah's seventy years during which Jerusalem and Judah should lie desolate. Thus is set aside the opinion that the author of this chapter sought to interpret the seventy years of Jeremiah by the seventy weeks; and it shows itself to be only the pure product of the dogmatic supposition, that this book does not contain prophecies of the prophet Daniel living in the time of the Exile, but only apocalyptic dreams of a Maccabean Jew.

(Note: The supposition that the seventy weeks, Daniel 9:24, are an interpretation of the seventy years of Jeremiah, is the basis on which Hitzig rests the assertion that the passage does not well adjust itself to the standpoint of the pretended Daniel, but is in harmony with the time of the Maccabees. The other arguments which Hitzig and others bring forth against this chapter as the production of Daniel, consist partly in vain historical or dogmatic assertions, such as that there are doubts regarding the existence of Darius of Media, - partly in misinterpretations, such as that Daniel wholly distinguishes himself, Daniel 9:6, Daniel 9:10, from the prophets, and presents himself as a reader of their writings (Hitz.), - opinions which are no better founded than the conclusions of Berth., v. Leng., and Staeh., drawn from the mention of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Daniel 9:7, and of the holy city, Daniel 9:24, that Jerusalem was then still inhabited and the temple still standing. To this it is added, that the prayer of Daniel is an imitation of the prayers of Ezra 9:1-15 and Nehemiah 9, or, as Ewald thinks, an extract from the prayer of Baruch (Bar. 1 and 2).)

Moreover, it is certainly true that in the Exile the expectation that the perfection and glory of the kingdom of God by the Messiah would appear along with the liberation of the Jews from Babylon was founded on the predictions of the earlier prophets, but that Daniel shared this expectation the book presents no trace whatever. Jeremiah also, neither in Jeremiah 25 nor in Jeremiah 29, where he speaks of the seventy years of the domination of Babylon, announces that the Messianic salvation would begin immediately with the downfall of the Babylonian kingdom. In Jeremiah 25 he treats only of the judgment, first over Judah, and then over Babylon and all the kingdoms around; and in Jeremiah 29 he speaks, it is true, of the fulfilling of the good word of the return of the Jews to their fatherland when seventy years shall be fulfilled for Babylon (Daniel 9:10), and of the counsel of Jehovah, which is formed not for the destruction but for the salvation of His people, of the restoration of the gracious relation between Jehovah and His people, and the gathering together and the bringing back of the prisoners from among all nations whither they had been scattered (Daniel 9:11-14), but he says not a word to lead to the idea that all this would take place immediately after these seventy years.

Now if Daniel, in the first year of Darius the Mede, i.e., in the sixty-ninth year of the Exile, prayed thus earnestly for the restoration of Jerusalem and the sanctuary, he must have been led to do so from a contemplation of the then existing state of things. The political aspect of the world-kingdom could scarcely have furnished to him such a motive. The circumstance that Darius did not immediately after the fall of Babylon grant permission to the Jews to return to their fatherland and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple, could not make him doubt the certainty of the fulfilment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah regarding the duration of the Exile, since the prophecy of Isaiah, Isaiah 44:28, that Coresch (Cyrus) should build Jerusalem and lay the foundation of the temple was beyond question known to him, and Darius had in a certain sense reached the sovereignty over the Chaldean kingdom, and was of such an age (Daniel 6:1) that now his reign must be near its end, and Cyrus would soon mount his throne as his successor. That which moved Daniel to prayer was rather the religious condition of his own people, among whom the chastisement of the Exile had not produced the expected fruits of repentance; so that, though he did not doubt regarding the speedy liberation of his people from Babylonish exile, he might still hope for the early fulfilment of the deliverance prophesied of after the destruction of Babylon and the return of the Jews to Canaan. This appears from the contents of the prayer. From the beginning to the close it is pervaded by sorrow on account of the great sinfulness of the people, among whom also there were no signs of repentance. The prayer for the turning away of the divine wrath Daniel grounds solely on the mercy of God, and upon that which the Lord had already done for His people by virtue of His covenant faithfulness, the צדקות (righteousness) of the Lord, not the "righteousness" of the people. This confession of sin, and this entreaty for mercy, show that the people, as a whole, were not yet in that spiritual condition in which they might expect the fulfilment of that promise of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29:12.): "Ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart; and I will be found of you, and will turn away your captivity," etc.

With this view of the contents of the prayer corresponds the divine answer which Gabriel brings to the prophet, the substance of which is to this effect, that till the accomplishment of God's plan of salvation in behalf of His people, yet seventy weeks are appointed, and that during this time great and severe tribulations would fall upon the people and the city.

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