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Daniel Prays for His People

In the first year of Darius[a] son of Ahasuerus,[b] who was of Median descent and who had been[c] appointed king over the Babylonian[d] empire— in the first year of his reign[e] I, Daniel, came to understand from the sacred books[f] that the number of years for the fulfilling of the desolation of Jerusalem, which had come as the Lord’s[g] message to the prophet Jeremiah, would be 70 years. So I turned my attention[h] to the Lord God[i] to implore him by prayer and requests, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.[j] I prayed to the Lord my God, confessing in this way:

“O Lord,[k] great and awesome God who is faithful to his covenant[l] with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned! We have done what is wrong and wicked; we have rebelled by turning away from your commandments and standards. We have not paid attention to your servants the prophets, who spoke by your authority[m] to our kings, our leaders, and our ancestors,[n] and to all the inhabitants[o] of the land as well.

“You are righteous,[p] O Lord, but we are humiliated this day[q]—the people[r] of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far away in all the countries in which you have scattered them, because they have behaved unfaithfully toward you. O Lord, we have been humiliated[s]—our kings, our leaders, and our ancestors—because we have sinned against you. Yet the Lord our God is compassionate and forgiving,[t] even though we have rebelled against him. 10 We have not obeyed[u] the Lord our God by living according to[v] his laws[w] that he set before us through his servants the prophets.

11 “All Israel has broken[x] your law and turned away by not obeying you.[y] Therefore you have poured out on us the judgment solemnly threatened[z] in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against you.[aa] 12 He has carried out his threats[ab] against us and our rulers[ac] who were over[ad] us by bringing great calamity on us—what has happened to Jerusalem has never been equaled under all heaven! 13 Just as it is written in the law of Moses, so all this calamity has come on us. Still we have not tried to pacify[ae] the Lord our God by turning back from our sin and by seeking wisdom[af] from your reliable moral standards.[ag] 14 The Lord was mindful of the calamity, and he brought it on us. For the Lord our God is just[ah] in all he has done,[ai] and we have not obeyed him.[aj]

15 “Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with great power[ak] and made a name for yourself that is remembered to this day—we have sinned and behaved wickedly. 16 O Lord, according to all your justice,[al] please turn your raging anger[am] away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain. For due to our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors, Jerusalem and your people are mocked by all our neighbors.

17 “So now, our God, accept[an] the prayer and requests of your servant, and show favor to[ao] your devastated sanctuary for your own sake.[ap] 18 Listen attentively,[aq] my God, and hear! Open your eyes and look on our desolated ruins[ar] and the city called by your name.[as] For it is not because of our own righteous deeds that we are praying to you,[at] but because your compassion is abundant. 19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, pay attention, and act! Don’t delay, for your own sake, O my God! For your city and your people are called by your name.”[au]

Gabriel Gives to Daniel a Prophecy of Seventy Weeks

20 While I was still speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and presenting my request before the Lord my God concerning his holy mountain[av]

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  1. Daniel 9:1 sn The identity of this Darius is a major problem in correlating the biblical material with the extra-biblical records of this period. Most modern scholars treat the reference as a mistaken allusion to Darius Hystaspes (ca. 522-486 b.c.). Others have maintained instead that this name is a reference to the Persian governor Gubaru. Still others understand the reference to be to the Persian king Cyrus (cf. 6:28, where the ו (vav) may be understood as vav explicativum, meaning “even”). Under either of these latter two interpretations, the first year of Darius would have been ca. 538 b.c. Daniel would have been approximately eighty-two years old at this time.
  2. Daniel 9:1 tc The LXX reads “Xerxes.” This is the reading used by some English versions (e.g., NIV, NCV, TEV, CEV). Most other English versions retain the Hebrew name “Ahasuerus.”
  3. Daniel 9:1 tc The present translation follows the MT in reading a Hophal (i.e., passive). Theodotion, the Syriac, and the Vulgate all presuppose the Hiphil (i.e., active). Even though this is the only occurrence of the Hophal of this verb in the Bible, there is no need to emend the vocalization to the Hiphil.
  4. Daniel 9:1 tn Heb “was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans.”
  5. Daniel 9:2 tc This phrase, repeated from v. 1, is absent in Theodotion.
  6. Daniel 9:2 tn Heb “books” or “scrolls.” The word “sacred” has been added to clarify that it refers to the Scriptures.
  7. Daniel 9:2 sn The tetragrammaton (the four Hebrew letters that constitute the divine Name, YHWH) appears 8 times in this chapter and nowhere else in the book of Daniel.
  8. Daniel 9:3 tn Heb “face.”
  9. Daniel 9:3 tn The Hebrew phrase translated “Lord God” here is אֲדֹנָי הָאֱלֹהִים (ʾadonay haʾelohim).
  10. Daniel 9:3 sn When lamenting, ancient Israelites would fast, wear sackcloth, and put ashes on their heads to show their sorrow and contrition.
  11. Daniel 9:4 tn The Hebrew term translated “Lord” here and in vv. 7, 9, 15, 16, and 19 is אֲדֹנָי (ʾadonay).
  12. Daniel 9:4 tn Heb “who keeps the covenant and the loyal love.” The expression is a hendiadys.
  13. Daniel 9:6 tn Heb “in your name.” Another option is to translate: “as your representatives.”
  14. Daniel 9:6 tn Heb “our fathers” (also in vv. 8, 16). The Hebrew term translated “father” can refer to more distant relationships such as grandfathers or ancestors.
  15. Daniel 9:6 tn Heb “people.”
  16. Daniel 9:7 tn Heb “to you (belongs) righteousness.”
  17. Daniel 9:7 tn Heb “and to us (belongs) shame of face like this day.”
  18. Daniel 9:7 tn Heb “men.”
  19. Daniel 9:8 tn Heb “to us (belongs) shame of face.”
  20. Daniel 9:9 tn Heb “to the Lord our God (belong) compassion and forgiveness.”
  21. Daniel 9:10 tn Heb “paid attention to the voice of,” which is an idiomatic expression for obedience (cf. NASB “nor have we obeyed the voice of”).
  22. Daniel 9:10 tn Heb “to walk in.”
  23. Daniel 9:10 tc The LXX and Vulgate have the singular.
  24. Daniel 9:11 tn Or “transgressed.” The Hebrew verb has the primary sense of crossing a boundary, in this case, God’s law.
  25. Daniel 9:11 tn Heb “by not paying attention to your voice.”
  26. Daniel 9:11 tn Heb “the curse and the oath that is written.” The term “curse” refers here to the judgments threatened in the Mosaic law (see Deut 28) for rebellion. The expression “the curse and the oath” is probably a hendiadys (cf. Num 5:21; Neh 10:29) referring to the fact that the covenant with its threatened judgments was ratified by solemn oath and made legally binding upon the covenant community.
  27. Daniel 9:11 tn Heb “him.”
  28. Daniel 9:12 tn Heb “he has fulfilled his word(s), which he spoke.”
  29. Daniel 9:12 tn Heb “our judges.”
  30. Daniel 9:12 tn Heb “who judged.”
  31. Daniel 9:13 tn Heb “we have not pacified the face of.”
  32. Daniel 9:13 tn Or “by gaining insight.”
  33. Daniel 9:13 tn Heb “by your truth.” The Hebrew term does not refer here to abstract truth, however, but to the reliable moral guidance found in the covenant law (see vv 10-11).
  34. Daniel 9:14 tn Or “righteous.”
  35. Daniel 9:14 tn Heb “in all his deeds that he has done.”
  36. Daniel 9:14 tn Heb “we have not listened to his voice.”
  37. Daniel 9:15 tn Heb “with a powerful hand.”
  38. Daniel 9:16 tn Or “righteousness.”
  39. Daniel 9:16 tn Heb “your anger and your rage.” The synonyms are joined here to emphasize the degree of God’s anger. This is best expressed in English by making one of the terms adjectival (cf. NLT “your furious anger”; CEV “terribly angry”).
  40. Daniel 9:17 tn Heb “hear.” Here the verb refers to hearing favorably, accepting the prayer and responding positively.
  41. Daniel 9:17 tn Heb “let your face shine.” This idiom pictures God smiling in favor. See Pss 31:16; 67:1; 80:3, 7, 19.
  42. Daniel 9:17 tn Heb “for the sake of my Lord.” Theodotion has “for your sake.” Cf. v. 19.
  43. Daniel 9:18 tn Heb “turn your ear.”
  44. Daniel 9:18 tn Heb “desolations.” The term refers here to the ruined condition of Judah’s towns.
  45. Daniel 9:18 tn Heb “over which your name is called.” Cf. v. 19. This expression implies that God is the owner of his city, Jerusalem. Note the use of the idiom in 2 Sam 12:28; Isa 4:1; Amos 9:12.
  46. Daniel 9:18 tn Heb “praying our supplications before you.”
  47. Daniel 9:19 tn Heb “for your name is called over your city and your people.” See the note on this expression in v. 18.
  48. Daniel 9:20 tn Heb “the holy mountain of my God.”