9 It was now the first year of the reign of King Darius, the son of Ahasuerus. (Darius was a Mede but became king of the Chaldeans.) 2 In that first year of his reign, I, Daniel, learned from the book of Jeremiah the prophet that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years.[a] 3 So I earnestly pleaded with the Lord God to end our captivity and send us back to our own land.[b]
As I prayed, I fasted and wore rough sackcloth, and I sprinkled myself with ashes 4 and confessed my sins and those of my people.
“O Lord,” I prayed, “you are a great and awesome God; you always fulfill your promises of mercy to those who love you and keep your laws. 5 But we have sinned so much; we have rebelled against you and scorned your commands. 6 We have refused to listen to your servants the prophets, whom you sent again and again down through the years, with your messages to our kings and princes and to all the people.
7 “O Lord, you are righteous; but as for us, we are always shamefaced with sin, just as you see us now; yes, all of us—the men of Judah, the people of Jerusalem, and all Israel, scattered near and far wherever you have driven us because of our disloyalty to you. 8 O Lord, we and our kings and princes and fathers are weighted down with shame because of all our sins.
9 “But the Lord our God is merciful and pardons even those who have rebelled against him.
10 “O Lord our God, we have disobeyed you; we have flouted all the laws you gave us through your servants, the prophets. 11 All Israel has disobeyed; we have turned away from you and haven’t listened to your voice. And so the awesome curse of God has crushed us—the curse written in the law of Moses your servant. 12 And you have done exactly as you warned us you would do, for never in all history has there been a disaster like what happened at Jerusalem to us and our rulers. 13 Every curse against us written in the law of Moses has come true; all the evils he predicted—all have come. But even so we still refuse to satisfy the Lord our God by turning from our sins and doing right.
14 “And so the Lord deliberately crushed us with the calamity he prepared; he is fair in everything he does, but we would not obey. 15 O Lord our God, you brought lasting honor to your name by removing your people from Egypt in a great display of power. Lord, do it again! Though we have sinned so much and are full of wickedness, 16 yet because of all your faithful mercies, Lord, please turn away your furious anger from Jerusalem, your own city, your holy mountain. For the heathen mock at you because your city lies in ruins for our sins.
17 “O our God, hear your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead! Let your face shine again with peace and joy upon your desolate sanctuary—for your own glory, Lord.
18 “O my God, bend down your ear and listen to my plea. Open your eyes and see our wretchedness, how your city lies in ruins—for everyone knows that it is yours. We don’t ask because we merit help, but because you are so merciful despite our grievous sins.
19 “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen to me and act! Don’t delay—for your own sake, O my God, because your people and your city bear your name.”
20 Even while I was praying and confessing my sin and the sins of my people, desperately pleading with the Lord my God for Jerusalem, his holy mountain, 21 Gabriel, whom I had seen in the earlier vision, flew swiftly to me at the time of the evening sacrifice 22 and said to me, “Daniel, I am here to help you understand God’s plans. 23 The moment you began praying a command was given. I am here to tell you what it was, for God loves you very much. Listen and try to understand the meaning of the vision that you saw!
24 “The Lord has commanded 490 years[c] of further punishment upon Jerusalem and your people. Then at last they will learn to stay away from sin, and their guilt will be cleansed; then the kingdom of everlasting righteousness will begin, and the Most Holy Place in the Temple will be rededicated, as the prophets have declared. 25 Now listen! It will be 49 years plus 434 years[d] from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One comes! Jerusalem’s streets and walls will be rebuilt despite the perilous times.
26 “After this period of 434 years, the Anointed One will be killed, his kingdom still unrealized . . . and a king will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. They will be overwhelmed as with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end. 27 This king will make a seven-year treaty with the people, but after half that time, he will break his pledge and stop the Jews from all their sacrifices and their offerings; then, as a climax to all his terrible deeds, the Enemy shall utterly defile the sanctuary of God. But in God’s time and plan, his judgment will be poured out upon this Evil One.”
- Daniel 9:2 Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years, see Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10. This interval had now almost expired.
- Daniel 9:3 to end our captivity and send us back to our own land, implied.
- Daniel 9:24 490 years, literally, “seventy weeks” or “seventy sevens” (of years). These were not in uninterrupted sequence. See vv. 25-27.
- Daniel 9:25 It will be 49 years plus 434 years. This totals 483 years, instead of the 490 years mentioned in v. 24, leaving 7 years unaccounted for at the time of Messiah’s death. For their future fulfillment, see v. 27 and the Revelation. Or, consider the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70 by Titus and the subsequent slaughter of one million Jews during the following three and a half years as at least a partial fulfillment of this prophecy.