Daniel 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.
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Daniel 9:18-19. O my God, incline thine ear and hear — The prophet’s importunity, in these verses, is very remarkable and affecting, and shows how exceedingly he had it at heart to have his request granted. Open thine eyes, and behold our desolations — Especially the desolations of thy city and temple: or, look with pity upon a most distressing and piteous case. For we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousness — That is, our righteous acts. We do not hope to have success for the sake of any thing we have done, do, or ever can do, as if we were worthy to receive thy favour, as if we could merit it by any good in us, or could demand any thing as a debt; but for thy great mercies — The only sources of all our blessings. Grant what we ask, to make it appear thou art a merciful God. Observe, reader, the good things we request of God we call mercies, because we expect them purely from God’s mercy. And because misery is the proper object of mercy, therefore the prophet here spreads the deplorable condition of God’s church and people before him, as it were, to move his compassion. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; defer not — Forgive our sins, and then hasten our deliverance. That the mercy which we ask may be granted, let the sin, that stands in the way of our receiving it, be removed; O Lord, hearken and do — Not hearken and speak only, but hearken and do: do that for us which none else can do, and that speedily. As he now sees the appointed day approaching, he could pray in faith that God would make haste to them, and not defer the expected blessing.

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.O my God, incline thine ear, and hear - Pleading earnestly for his attention and his favor, as one does to a man.

Open thine eyes - As if his eyes had been closed upon the condition of the city, and he did not see it. Of course, all this is figurative, and is the language of strong and earnest pleading when the heart is greatly interested.

And the city which is called by thy name - Margin, "whereupon thy name is called." The margin expresses the sense more literally; but the meaning is, that the city had been consecrated to God, and was called his - the city of Jehovah. It was known as the place of his sanctuary - the city where his worship was celebrated, and which was regarded as his peculiar dwelling place on the earth. Compare Psalm 48:1-3; Psalm 87:3. This is a new ground of entreaty, that the city belonged to God, and that he would remember the close connection between the prosperity of that city and the glory of his own name.

18. present … supplications—literally, "cause to fall," &c. (compare Note, see on [1097]Jer 36:7). Observe here,

1. How he entitles God to the city for his name. It was the city of God, Psalm 48:1,2,8 Jer 25:29. It is a good argument in prayer to entitle ourselves to God; yea, to interest God to ourselves, and to our cause. Observe,

2. How careful and cautious the prophet is to flee to mercy, and to renounce merit. Thus all the saints.

O my God, incline thine ear, and hear,.... The petitions now put up, for Christ's sake:

open thine eyes, and behold our desolations; the city and temple a heap of rubbish, and the whole land forsaken of its inhabitants, and lying waste and uncultivated, or, however, at most possessed by enemies; and things being thus, it seemed as if the Lord shut his eyes to them, and therefore is desired to open them, and look with pity and compassion on the case of his people, and deliver them out of all their troubles:

and the city which is called by thy name; or, "on which thy name is called" (k); as Jerusalem was, being called the city of our God, the city of the great King, Psalm 48:1 and in which also his name was called upon, both by the inhabitants of it in their private houses, and by the priests and Levites, and others, in the temple, which stood in it:

for we do not present our supplications before thee; or, "cause them to fall before thee" (l); expressing the humble and lowly manner in which they presented their petitions to God, and respecting the gesture they used in prayer, bowing themselves to the ground, and falling prostrate upon it; and as was the custom of the eastern people when they supplicated their princes: and this Daniel, in the name of his people, did; not, says he,

for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies; not pleading their good works and righteous actions, and the merits of them, which had none in them, and were no other than as filthy rags, and could not recommend them to God, or be used as a plea and argument to obtain any good thing from him; but throwing themselves upon the abundant grace and mercy of God in Christ, mercy they pleaded, and not merit; and made mention of the righteousness of Christ, and not their own; as all good men, who are truly sensible of themselves, and of the grace of God, will do.

(k) "super quam invocatum est nomen tuum", Vatablus, Pagninus, Calvin; "super qua nomen tuum nuncupatum est", Cocceius. (l) "nos cadere facientes", Montanus; "nos cadere facimus", Gejerus, Michaelis.

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 {n} righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.

(n) Declaring that the godly flee only to God's mercies, and renounce their own works, when they seek for remission of their sins.

18. incline … and behold (lit. see)] Almost exactly the words in Hezekiah’s prayer, 2 Kings 19:16 (= Isaiah 37:17).

desolations] Daniel 9:26 : cf. Isaiah 49:19; Isaiah 61:4 (twice).

over which thy name hath been called] i.e. of which Thou art the Owner. The sense of the expression appears from 2 Samuel 12:28, ‘lest I take the city, and my name be called over it,’ in token, viz. of my having conquered it. The expression is often used, especially in Deuteronomic writers, of the people of Israel, Jerusalem, or the Temple, as Daniel 9:19; Deuteronomy 28:10; Jeremiah 7:10-11; Jeremiah 7:14; Jeremiah 7:30; Jeremiah 14:9; Jeremiah 25:29; 1 Kings 8:43; Isaiah 63:10. The paraphrase of A.V., R.V., ‘which is called by my name,’ weakens and obscures the real force of the expression. Cf. further on Amos 9:12.

present] lit. cause to fall: so Daniel 9:20, Jeremiah 38:26; Jeremiah 42:2; Jeremiah 42:9; cf. Jeremiah 36:7 (lit ‘their supplication will fall before Jehovah’), Jeremiah 37:20 (here in the sense of being accepted). The expression does not occur elsewhere in the O.T.: Prof. Kirkpatrick compares, however, Bar 2:19 (οὐκαταβάλλομεν τὸν ἔλεον we do not cast down our supplication).

for … for] properly on (the ground of).

thy great compassions] Daniel 9:9. The same expression in Nehemiah 9:19; Nehemiah 9:27; Nehemiah 9:31 (A.V., R.V., ‘manifold mercies’): cf. 2 Samuel 24:14 (‘for his compassions are great’), Psalm 119:156.

Verses 18, 19. - 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. 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. The version of the Seventy differs but little from the Massoretic; they read "hear me" instead of simply "hear." The translator also connects the "desolation "with the city, against grammar. The LXX. adds, "Be propitious to us (συ ἱλάτευσον)." The repetition of the vocative in the nineteenth verse is omitted, but "Zion" and "Israel" are inserted after "city" and "people" respectively. Theodotion is in yet closer agreement with the received text. The Peshitta is very close, but adds "ruin" to "desolation." The Vulgate affords no cause of remark. Our desolations. The word used here occurs in Lamentations. In the prophecies of Jeremiah a cognate word is used, differing from that before us only in vocalization (comp. Jeremiah 25:12, where it is applied to Babylon after the seventy years of Babylonian rule are ended). Which is called by thy Name. This phrase is used repeatedly in Jeremiah 7. of the temple. Present our supplications. The words used suggest the posture in presenting a petition - falling down before the person to whom it is addressed. It is one frequently used in Jeremiah, sometimes of persons (Jeremiah 38:26), of God (Jeremiah 42:9). Not on account of our righteousnesses. There is a marked advance in spiritual insight exhibited by this. The old position was reward according to righteousness, and mercy because of it. The Jews before the Captivity had very much the heathen idea of paying God by sacrifice for benefits received or asked; but the long cessation of sacrifice raised them above this. But for thy great mercies. This plea to God because in the past he has multiplied his mercies, is in the same elevated plane. We find a similar line in Nehemiah 9, only as an occasion of thanksgiving. It is remarked by Professor Fuller that the repetition of the word Adonai, and the short sentences, give a feeling of intensity to the prayer suitable to the circumstances. The words used are all echoes of Jeremiah; e.g. "forgive," "hearken," are used in connections that would suit Daniel's study of Jeremiah. It is impossible not to observe to how great an extent this prayer is coloured by Jeremiah. Excursus on Baruch and Daniel. Professor Ewald, in his 'History of Israel' (v. 206), and afterwards in his 'Prophets of Israel,' emphasizes the resemblance between the opening chapters of the apocryphal Book of Baruch and the ninth chapter of Daniel. After, in the first place, arbitrarily assigning Baruch to the Persian period, he assumes a tendency to rebel against the Persians - a thing of which we have no evidence. Certainly we have no proof against this, because we have no history of the period at all. He assumes that there was constant communication between the Jewish community in Jerusalem and that in Babylon during this period, which, though possible, is not certain. The further assumption, however, that the Babylonian Jewish community would take such a cumbrous device as the apocryphal Book of Baruch to convey their advice to the Jews of Jerusalem, to avoid rebellion, is a strange one for a man of Ewald's acuteness. By the introductory hypothesis in the Book of Baruch, the Jewish community of Babylon send a letter by Baruch to the remnant of the Jews in Jerusalem. If that were so, then it is in Jerusalem, not in Babylon, that this letter, or a copy of it, might be supposed to turn up. Therefore the falsarius is to be looked for among the Jews of Jerusalem, not among those of Babylon. In Jerusalem would, of necessity, the farce of finding this epistle be enacted. Altogether, there seems no support for the date or origin assigned by Ewald to this book. Of course, if we could have assumed the conclusion of Ewald in regard to the date of Baruch to be correct, it would have been of advantage in our further argument. Ewald further assumes that the opening portion of Baruch has been the original from which the prayer in the ninth chapter of Daniel has been imitated. The resemblance cannot be denied, the question to be decided is - Which is the original and which the imitation? It is a general rule, and one of almost universal application, that the shorter form of a poetical composition - and the prayer in Daniel and in Baruch has that character - is the more original. Unquestionably, if we apply this test, the prayer in the Book of Baruch is later than the parallel prayer in Daniel 9. In Baruch the prayer occupies at least sixty verses, in Daniel only sixteen. We would not press the mere fact of brevity, did this stand alone as evidence for the priority of Daniel, as it is possible, but we think little more than barely possible, that the version in Daniel might be a summary of that in Baruch, though summaries are much rarer in poetic literature than expansions. The nature of the differences seem more naturally to be due to expansion than to summarizing. Thus if we compare two closely parallel passages (Bar. 2:9-12 and Daniel 9:14, 15), we find the differences are all due to expansions in Baruch on changes that might appear to make the succession of thought easier. Of the latter, an example is" works which he has commanded us," compared with" works which he doeth." The former makes the transition to the thought of disobedience easier. It is possible this change may have been due to the translator misreading the Hebrew before him. The expansions are more obviously additions to the text - they have the invariable character of such things, additions to the words of a passage without being any real addition to the sense. Thus the last clause of Daniel 9:14, "For we obeyed not his voice," is expanded into "Yet we have not hearkened unto his voice to walk in the commandments of the Lord, which he hath set before us." After the first eight words, which may be regarded as exactly equivalent to the six in Daniel, the rest is mere expansion. Again, the last obtuse of Daniel 9:15, "we have sinned, we have done wickedly," is expanded into "O Lord our God, we have sinned, we have done ungodly, we have dealt unrighteously in all thine ordinances." Any one can see that here the differences are mere expansion, without any addition to the thought. We might carry our investigation further, and would only make our point clearer; but this would be mere loss of time. This expansion and paraphrasing prove the dependence of Baruch upon Daniel, and therefore the priority of the latter. More important is the utter failure of the writer of Baruch to comprehend the condition of matters at the time he supposes himself writing. In Bar. 1:2 we are told that the Chaldeans "had taken Jerusalem, and burned it with fire." Jerusalem thereafter ceased to be inhabited, for Gedaliah stayed in Mizpah. Yet (Bar. 1:10) the Babylonian Jews say they have sent money "to buy you burnt offerings, and sin offerings," which it would be impossible to present before God as the temple was a mass of ruins. Jeremiah 41:5 cannot be quoted against this, because the Shechemites and Samaritians there mentioned are carrying an unbloody sacrifice, which might be offered to the Lord at the ruins; but there is no word of burnt offerings or sin offerings. And in harmony with this there is no stress laid in the prayer in Baruch, as there is in the prayer in Daniel, on the absoluteness of the desolation of Zion. On the supposition in the Book of Baruch, Jerusalem had still inhabitants, and there was still a high priest, a state of matters utterly at variance with that implied in the Book of Ezra. No such anachronism can be detected in Daniel; his whole prayer speaks consistently of the desolation of Jerusalem. We do but mention the fact that the high priest "Joachim, sen of Cheleias, sen of Salem" (Bar. 1:7) has no existence in the list of the priests we find in Chronicles and Nehemiah. In 1 Chronicles 6:15 we are told that Jehozadak "went into captivity," and we know that Joshua was his son. We shall lay no stress on the otherwise unheard-of return to the land of Judah of the vessels "which Sedecias, the son of Joaias, king of Judah had made" (Bar. 1:8), nor on the date in the first verse, "the fifth year in the seventh day of the mouth;" they are in perfect harmony with the general non-historical tone of the whole book. The Book of Daniel has nothing like them. Another historical blunder must be noted - one that proves the dependence of Baruch on Daniel, and disproves the opposite view. The Babylonian Jews declare their intention (Bar. 1:12) to live "under the shadow of Nebuchodonosor King of Babylon, and under the shadow of Balthasar his son." This makes Belshazzar the son of Nebuchadnezzar, and his associate on the throne, in contradiction of history as we know it now. We know now that Belshazzar was not the son of Nebuchadnezzar, but of Nabunahid. He may have been the grandson of the great conqueror, but not his actual son. The statements in Daniel, while liable to be interpreted in the sense in which the author of Baruch has taken them, do not necessitate this sense, as we have shown above. In Daniel Belshazzar is never described as the son of Nebuchadnezzar in the same way as Darius is called the son of Ahasuerus. It is true Nebuchadnezzar is called his father, and he himself, according to the Massoretic text, speaks of him as his father; but this means no more, in the court language of Assyria, than that he was his predecessor and was famous. As there is no note of chronological succession in Daniel, Belshazzar's occupation of the throne as representative of his father Nabunahid might be any number of years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar, without contradicting anything in it. A writer acquainted with Daniel, and living long after the events, would naturally drop into the blunder of the writer of Baruch, and make Belshazzar the son of Nebuchadnezzar. On the other hand, it is difficult to imagine the writer of Daniel - if he were a novelist - having Baruch in his hand, and not introducing Belshazzar alongside of Nebuchadnezzar. The artistic possibilities of the situation would have been too great to be resisted. We then feel ourselves necessitated to place Baruch long posterior to Daniel. It is difficult to settle the date of Baruch. The latter two chapters, which are certainly by a hand other than the first three, and probably later, have signs in them that make them late. Bar. 5. is an imitation of the Psalter of Solomon 11. The utter inability to comprehend the cessation of burnt offering and sin offering, implied in Bar. 1:10, shows that it was written before the destruction of the temple under Vespasian. It is scarcely possible that it could have been written after the desolation of the temple by Epiphanes. This definitely overthrows the theory of Kneueker, that Baruch was written in Rome after the capture of Jerusalem by Titus. One who had seen the desolation of Jerusalem under the Romans would not have been under the hallucination of the writer of Baruch, or imagined that burnt sacrifices could have been offered by a high priest in Jerusalem after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Not unlikely the first three chapters were composed in the reign of the Lagid princes, and had for their object to reconcile the Jews to subjection to the foreign yoke. Israel certainly was still scattered among the countries. The huge Jewish communities in Egypt and Babylon, not to speak of the smaller communities scattered over every city round the basin of the Mediterranean, amply proved that. They were no longer an independent nation, they were always subject to some power, and that was a cause of humiliation. If we are right in our idea of the date of the Book of Baruch, and of the relation between it and the Book of Daniel, we have proved that Daniel must have existed long prior to the Maccabean struggle. Daniel 9:18The argument by which the prayer is urged, derived from a reference to the desolations, is strengthened by the words in apposition: and the city over which Thy name is named; i.e., not which is named after Thy name, by which the meaning of this form of expression is enfeebled. The name of God is the revelation of His being. It is named over Jerusalem in so far as Jehovah gloriously revealed Himself in it; He has raised it, by choosing it as the place of His throne in Israel, to the glory of a city of God; cf. Psalm 48:2., and regarding this form of expression, the remarks under Deuteronomy 28:10.

The expression: and laying down my supplication before God (cf. Daniel 9:20), is derived from the custom of falling down before God in prayer, and is often met with in Jeremiah; cf. Jeremiah 38:26; Jeremiah 42:9, and Jeremiah 36:7. The Kethiv פּקחה (Daniel 9:18, open) is to be preferred to the Keri פּקח, because it is conformed to the imperative forms in Daniel 9:19, and is in accordance with the energy of the prayer. This energy shows itself in the number of words used in Daniel 9:18 and Daniel 9:19. Chr. B. Mich., under Daniel 9:19, has well remarked: "Fervorem precantis cognoscere licet cum ex anaphora, seu terna et mysterii plena nominis Adonai repetitione, tum ex eo, quod singulis hisce imperativis He paragogicum ad intensiorem adfectum significandum superaddidit, tum ex congerie illa verborum: Audi, Condona, Attende, reliqua."

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