Daniel 9:9
To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;
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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.To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses - Not only does righteousness belong to him in the sense that he has done right, and that he cannot be blamed for what he has done, but mercy and forgiveness belong to him in the sense that he only can pardon, and that these are attributes of his nature.

Though we have rebelled against him - The word used here and rendered "though" (כי kı̂y) may mean either "though" or "for." That is, the passage may mean that mercy belongs to God, and we may hope that he will show it, "although" we have been so evil and rebellious; or it may mean that it belongs to him, and he only can show it, "for" we have rebelled against him; that is, our only hope now is in his mercy, "for" we have sinned, and forfeited all claims to his favor. Either of these interpretations makes good sense, but the latter would seem to be most in accordance with the general strain of this part of the prayer, which is to make humble and penitent confession. So the Latin Vulgate "quia." So Theodotion, ὅτι hoti. So Luther and Lengerke, "denn." In the same way, the passage in Psalm 25:11 is rendered, "For thy name's sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity, for (כי kı̂y) it is great" - though this passage will admit of the other interpretation, "although it is great."

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.

How did God show himself merciful, when he punished them so severely?


1. Because it was less than their sin deserved, for it was rebellion.

2. Because their punishment was God’s chastisement, which to his people is an act of love and mercy, as you see, Hebrews 12:6-9.

3. Because God preserved them in their captivity, and delivered them from it. They therefore that pray to God under their sin and misery must eye God’s mercies, as well as his justice, Psalm 2:1 130:4. For as the one doth east them down, so the other bears them up, and gives them hope; or else we might he swallowed up of too much sorrow and despair, 2 Corinthians 2:7,11, wherein Satan would be too hard for us, as well as in dedolency or want of godly sorrow.

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.

To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;
9. mercies] The word often rendered ‘tender mercies’ (Psalm 25:6; Psalm 40:11, &c.). The cognate verb and adj. are often rendered by have compassion on (e.g. Isaiah 49:15), and full of compassion (e.g. Psalm 78:38). Compassion would be the best word to adopt uniformly for this word and its cognates.

forgivenesses] Psalm 130:4, ‘With thee is forgiveness’; and Nehemiah 9:17, ‘a God of forgivenesses.’

though] because or for. The clause explains how it is that there is need for the exercise of forgiveness by God.

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. Daniel 9:9Compassion and forgiveness are with the Lord our God; and these we need, for we have rebelled against Him. This thought is expanded in Daniel 9:10-14. The rebellion against God, the refusing to hear the voice of the Lord through the prophets, the transgression of His law, of which all Israel of the twelve tribes were guilty, has brought the punishment on the whole people which the law of Moses threatened against transgressors.
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