9 Daniel: 1-2 In the first year that Darius the Mede (Ahasuerus’ son) ruled over the Babylonians, I, Daniel, was studying the word of the Eternal One according to the prophet Jeremiah and discovered in the scrolls the number of years that Jerusalem must lie desolate before it is restored, that is, seventy years.
Darius is a title and may refer to Cyrus about 539 b.c. or Artaxerxes I (Ahasuerus’ son) in 465 b.c.
3 After learning this, I turned to the Lord God, praying diligently, begging for His mercy, grieving and fasting in sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the Eternal One my God, praising His greatness and confessing our sins: Lord God, You are great and awesome! You are always faithful to the covenant You made with us. Your unfailing love extends to all who love You and keep Your commandments. 5 But we have sinned and wronged You. We have acted wickedly in our rebellion, going so far as to disregard Your commandments and regulations. 6 We have ignored the message given through Your servants, the prophets, who spoke on Your behalf to our kings, princes, ancestors, indeed every last person of the land. 7 O Lord, You always do what is right. It is Your due, but we deserve nothing this day but public and open shame. The people of Judah, Jerusalem—indeed of all Israel, those who are in neighboring regions and those who are in the farthest reaches, driven into exile by You for all the treacherous acts they committed against You—we all deserve nothing but shame. 8 Eternal One, public and open shame is our due, for we have sinned against You, all of us, our kings, princes, and ancestors. 9 But You, O Lord our God, still show us compassion and forgiveness even though we have openly rebelled against You. 10 We have not obeyed the voice of the Eternal our God, for we have failed to live by the teachings You gave us directly through Your servants, the prophets. 11 All the people of Israel have abandoned Your teachings, deserted Your covenant, and refused to obey Your voice. This is why the curse and the oath inscribed in the law of Moses,[a] the servant of God, has been poured out on us—for we have sinned against You. 12 By unleashing on us this great calamity, You have carried out Your solemn words warning us and our leaders who led us astray. Under all of heaven, nothing like what happened to Jerusalem has ever happened before. 13 All the calamity that has befallen us fulfills the warnings written in Moses’ law; but despite our adversity, we have not sought the favor of the Eternal our God by walking away from our sins and pursuing insight into Your truth. 14 And now we have earned the misery that the Eternal has stored up for us. Truly, the Eternal our God was right to do all He has done, for we refused to obey His voice.
Daniel is just one man, yet he carries the sins of his nation to God and pleads with the Almighty to forgive and rescue His people. Their collective failures to live up to the covenant they made with God has scattered the chosen people to the four corners of the earth and have brought ruin to Jerusalem. After reading the prophet Jeremiah, Daniel knows that the calamity will not be over until God’s people come back to Him. With fasting and prayer, Daniel hopes to begin the process of restoration.
God’s covenant with Israel includes provisions for both blessings and curses. When the people follow God and keep His teaching, they can expect to live peacefully in the land God promised. But when the covenant people rebel against God and ignore His teaching, their actions—or lack of actions—bring into effect the curses. Daniel appeals to God’s own interest as the One who cares about His name and His reputation. The fate of Jerusalem and His people reflects on Him.
15 Now, Lord our God, You have made Your name great among the nations to this day by liberating Your enslaved people from the land of Egypt with powerful deeds; yet we have sinned against You, our Liberator, and we have acted wickedly. 16 Lord, the reputation of Your city Jerusalem has suffered, and Your people are mocked by those around us because we and our ancestors have done wrong. I beg You to spare Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; turn away Your burning anger and fiery wrath from Your people according to all Your covenant mercies. 17 Now, God, please hear the prayers and petitions voiced today by your servant. Shine Your face on Your destroyed and desolate sanctuary for the sake of Your name, my Lord. 18 Lend an ear, my God, and hear this prayer. Open Your eyes and see our deserted streets and witness the devastation across the city that bears Your name. We are crying to You and asking for mercy, not because we are righteous and deserve it. No, we bring these petitions to you because we know of Your great mercy. 19 Lord, hear our prayer! Lord, forgive our sins! Lord, pay attention to our plight and act without delay, not for our sake, my God, but for Yours because these people and this city bear Your name.
20 For much of the day I was pleading and praying, confessing my sin and the sins of my people Israel, presenting my case to the Eternal One my God on behalf of Jerusalem, His holy mountain. 21 About the time of the evening sacrifice, while I was still pleading and praying and almost completely exhausted, the man Gabriel, who had appeared to me in an earlier vision, appeared again and reached out to me.
Gabriel (to me): 22 Daniel, I have come for one purpose: to offer you insight and understanding into these matters. 23 When you began your pleading earlier today, a word was issued. I was instructed to come and tell you about it, for you are highly regarded by God. So pay close attention so you can understand the vision.
24 The decree has been issued: your people and your holy city have 70 sevens of time[b] to bring rebellion to a close, to put an end to sin, to wipe away guilt, to bring in a righteousness that endures, to seal up the prophet’s vision, and to anoint the most sacred place. 25 Know and understand this: from the proclamation of the word to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to the arrival of the Anointed Ruler, there will be 7 weeks of time. For 62 weeks of time the community will be restored, the city rebuilt with broad streets and deep defenses, even through times of trouble. 26 After those 62 weeks of time the Anointed One will be cut down and have nothing; then the warriors[c] of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and defile the sanctuary. Its end will come swiftly as in a flood and to the end there will be war. The decree has been issued: Desolation.
27 And that prince will make a binding treaty with many people for a one-week period of time. In the middle of that one period he will put a stop to all sacrifices and offerings to the Lord. And at the height[d] of his atrocities he will set up an abominable idol that desecrates the most holy place, until the desolation decreed is finally poured out on the defiler.[e]