1. What did Daniel understand in the first year of Darius’ reign?
Jeremiah’s prophesies of the 70 years: “(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” (Daniel 9:1-2).
- This Darius is the Mede and this ties us to chapter 11 (Daniel 11:1), the son of Ahasuerus. So, this puts us after the book of Esther. However, there are later Darius’ too. There is a Darius the Persian in the days of Nehemiah and Ezra that is after this period of time in Daniel (Ezra 4:5 and Nehemiah 12:22).
- The 70 years in the desolations of Jerusalem (II Chronicles 36:17-21, Jeremiah 25:1-12, Jeremiah 27:1-8, and Jeremiah 29:1-14).
- Jerusalem was made a desolation (Jeremiah 7:34, Jeremiah 25:18, Jeremiah 34:22, and Jeremiah 44:22).
2. What stands out to you in Daniel’s prayer?
“(3) And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: (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 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. (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. (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. (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. (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” (Daniel 9:3-19).
- Seeking by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes was about an afflicted soul for lamentation (Isaiah 58:5 and Jeremiah 6:26).
- Prayer and confession (Proverbs 28:13 and Jeremiah 3:13).
- “Dreadful” [to be feared] (Psalms 76:7).
- God keeps His covenant (Exodus 6:5, Deuteronomy 7:9, and Psalms 105:8).
- He shows mercy to those who love and obey Him (Exodus 20:6, Deuteronomy 5:10, Nehemiah 1:5, and Psalms 25:10).
- For Daniel and other Eunuchs (Isaiah 56:4-8).
- “We have sinned” [repeated in verses 11; 15] as a collective people was long a problem with Israel (Numbers 12:11, Psalms 106:6, Jeremiah 3:25, Jeremiah 14:7, and Hosea 11:7).
- To sin is to do wickedness, to depart from the Lord’s word (Jeremiah 14:20 and I John 3:4).
- They didn’t listen to the prophets (II Chronicles 36:14-16 and Jeremiah 7:25-26).
- They admittedly deserved to reap what they had sown (Proverbs 22:8, Isaiah 3:10-11, and Lamentations 3:32-40).
- The Lord did not make empty threats (Lamentations 2:17).
- The Law of Moses foretold of what was to come for disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:1-68).
- Their actions were before the eyes of the Lord (Proverbs 5:21, Proverbs 15:3, and Jeremiah 23:24).
- Daniel then asked God to remember His covenant, His love for Israel, for His own sake, (Isaiah 37:35 and Isaiah 43:25), etc. Daniel acted as a mediator for Israel in this prayer (Exodus 32:1-14, Numbers 14:1-20, and James 5:16).
3. Why did Gabriel come to Daniel while Daniel was praying?
To give him skill, understanding, and to help with understanding the vision: “(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. (22) And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. (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” (Daniel 9:20-23).
- While in prayer, confessing sin, Gabriel appears (Isaiah 65:11-24).
- Gabriel (Daniel 8:16 and Luke 1:5-38).
- Flying by and touching Daniel (Isaiah 6:1-7).
- Skill [understanding] and understanding [knowledge]. In other words, Gabriel came to help Daniel understand the knowledge being shown in this vision as verse 23 states (Zechariah 1:9).
- The fact that angels talked with men and helped in these ways is why Paul cautioned the Galatians not to believe something contrary to what had been delivered even if an angel said it (Galatians 1:8-9).
4. What was to be accomplished in the seventy weeks that had been determined upon the people and the holy city?
“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” (Daniel 9:24).
- The word translated “weeks” can mean a period of 7 in days or years (Strong’s # 7620). The same word appears in verses 24, 26, 27, 10:2, and 10:3. It can be non specific. Therefore, we MUST be careful here (II Peter 3:15-18).
- This could be just the contextual point in reference to the seventy years Israel was in captivity (Daniel 9:2).
- At the end of captivity, the people were reconciled to God. This fits a proper conclusion (Ezekiel 36:22-38). Other conclusions aren’t so provable. For those who would argue that this and the coming verses are about the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, there are some holes that are difficult to fill. For example, Matthew 5:17-18. Also, Jesus didn’t say the destruction of Jerusalem was about reconciliation. It was because there was no reconciliation (Matthew 23:37-24:34).
5. What was to be done “unto the Messiah the Prince”?
The restoration and rebuilding of Jerusalem: “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” (Daniel 9:25).
- The English translation here makes on immediately jump to thinking about Jesus. Jesus is the “Messiah” (John 1:41 and John 4:25).
- However, when you do a word study, this is not necessarily the only conclusion you can come to. This same Hebrew word (Strong’s # 4899) referred to Cyrus in the Old Testament (Isaiah 45:1). Is that a possible conclusion? What does chapter ten begin with (Daniel 10:1)?
- Furthermore, read II Chronicles 36:22-23.
- Again, this is about restoration and not destruction. The restoration of Jerusalem did occur during “troublous times” (Nehemiah 4:1-23).
6. What was to happen after threescore and two weeks?
“And after threescore and two 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” (Daniel 9:26).
- The Messiah being cut off, but not for himself certainly could be understood to be about Jesus as He was a Messiah that was put to death (I Peter 3:18).
- However, did the people of Jesus come come to destroy the city and the sanctuary? NO! The people of Jesus fled when Jerusalem was destroyed after the death of Christ (Luke 21:20-24).
- This fits what we discussed in chapter 8 (Daniel 8:15-26).
- In Christ, is there an end to the war that was pre-determined while this earth stands (I Timothy 1:18)?
7. What was to be confirmed with many for one week?
The covenant: “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 of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:27).
- Again, we could start down the road of Jesus as the mediator of the new covenant (Hebrews 9:15-17). But…
- The language of this verse fits the context of Daniel 8:9-12 and will fit what we are going to discuss in Daniel 11:22-28. It fits the Grecian Empire.
- The language of abomination and desolation does draw attention to Matthew 24:15. However, when Jesus or the Apostles referred to some prophesies they applied, but were not directly about the times Jesus made reference to (i.e. Matthew 13:13-15, John 12:36-43, and Acts 28:17-31 [Isaiah 6:1-10], Matthew 15:7-9 [Isaiah 29:10-15], and Romans 10:1-17 [Isaiah 52:7 and Isaiah 53:1]. Is it possible, and even likely, that Jesus’ reference to Daniel was simply to remind the Jewish disciples of their history recorded by Daniel?
© 2020 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.