Daniel has had another vision and it is troubling. He is seeking to understand when Gabriel joins him and gives him an explanation of the kingdoms and times that reveals great destruction to come in Jerusalem and to God’s people. Daniel is physically ill after what he has seen. Darius conquers Babylon and in the first year, likely the year of great uncertainty and also when he faced the lion’s den, Daniel seeks prophecy about Israel and finds Jeremiah’s seventy years. He begins interceding for them and “a word went out” from heaven. Daniel has another vision and Gabriel again comes to bring understanding.
Make This Man Understand
Daniel had a vision and now in Daniel 8:15 “was seeking understanding”. He didn’t just let the vision go, he asked what it meant and in Daniel 8:16 a command was given, “Gabriel, make this man understand” and “As in the annunciation to Mary (Luke 1:28–30), Gabriel was bringing good news”.1
But even so, “The approach of Gabriel caused Daniel to fall down in fear, as Ezekiel had done in his visions (Ezek. 1:28; 3:23; 44:4)”.2
As he fell, some would say under the weight of the glory, Gabriel touched him and stood him on his feet in Daniel 8:18. Now Daniel is in position to hear the message.
This vision if for “the period of wrath … the appointed time of the end” in Daniel 8:19. Then in Daniel 8:20 “The Ram … represents the kings of Media and Persia” so the ram in Daniel 8:5-8 was about the overthrow of the kingdom of the Medes and Persians. And in Daniel 8:21-22 it was the kingdom of Greece that would overcome them, but their leader would be removed and four would take his place “The death of Alexander in 323 BC, only ten years after the collapse of the Persian empire, followed by an extended struggle for power, is well-known history”.3
I Was Dismayed
The explanation of the vision continues in Daniel 8:23-25 and another king will arise out of Greece and in Daniel 8:24 (LEB) “he will cause fearful destruction, and he will succeed and he will act, and he will destroy the mighty and the people of the holy ones.” And this is exactly what happened “he (Antiochus) killed forty thousand Jews and captured just as many.”4
Because of the explanation of this vision, in Daniel 8:27 “Daniel, was overcome, and I became ill for many days”. In some prior visions, Daniel had held the message within himself because it wasn’t time yet. The destruction in this vision was so devastating that it physically affected him.
According To The Word of Yahweh
Beginning in Daniel 7 we find accounts of visions that Daniel had from the first year of Belshazzar. Here in Daniel 9:1 is the third major vision that happens in the first year of Darius. Daniel is back in a position of leadership as Belshazzar had placed Daniel third in authority before Darius conquered the city and took over the Babylonian empire. The opposition that landed Daniel in the lions pit in Daniel 6 likely also happened during this first year of Darius. While we don’t know the exact timing of events, this first year of Darius would have been a time of tremendous change and uncertainty for the people of Babylon and maybe more so for anyone in a leadership position. So we can understand that Daniel would be searching through prophecy to know God’s will for Jerusalem and the children of Israel. And in Jeremiah, he finds an answer.
Jeremiah prophesied that Judah would be captive in Babylon for 70 years (see Jer 25:11 and note; compare Jer 29:10–14).5
The writer implies that the years of desolation were fulfilling some role, and had to take their course before any new building could take place. Seventy years was the fixed term of divine indignation (Zech. 1:12),5 described in 2 Chronicles 36:21 as ‘the days … it kept sabbath, to fulfil seventy years’6
Daniel begin intercession for God’s people in Daniel 9:3-10. In vs. 4 he acknowledges God’s greatness saying “the great and awesome God, keeping the covenant and loyal love with those who love him and with those who keep his commandments,” then confesses two things:
– We have rebelled in Daniel 9:5 we have sinned and we have done wrong and we acted wickedly and we rebelled and have been turning aside from your commandments and from your ordinances.
– We have not listened in Daniel 9:6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors and to all the people of the land.
Then he goes back and says “Righteousness belongs to you” in Daniel 9:7 and “on us is open shame” in Daniel 9:8.
And follows this with “Compassion and forgiveness belong to the Lord, our God” in Daniel 9:8 and we have not followed “his law” in Daniel 9:10.
The Law of Moses
Daniel remembers the Law of Moses, which includes the blessing and the curse. It is the curse they have received as he prays in Daniel 9:11-14 saying “all Israel transgressed … so he carried out his words … Indeed Yahweh our God is righteous … but we have not listened. Daniel then shifts reminding God in Daniel 9:15-19 that they are “your people … according to your righteousness … for your sake … by your name”. Daniel asks the Lord to look beyond their actions and to remember his great name and to have compassion and remove their shame in
Daniel 9:19 (LEB) Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, pay heed and act! You must not delay for your sake, my God; because your city and your people are called by your name.”
A Word Went Out
Gabriel showed up as he was praying in Daniel 9:20-23. Daniel was confessing his own sin, the sin of his people, and making a plea before the Lord.
- Daniel didn’t see himself in the presence of the Lord, he simply believed that the Lord was hearing his prayer, and He was.
- Daniel began his prayer because he thought he understood from Jeremiah that the time of Israel’s exile was seventy years, but Gabriel says in vs. 22, “I have now come out to teach you understanding”. Daniel was on the right track, but he needed more, and that didn’t come until he prayed.
- Daniel was worn out, in vs 21 “Gabriel … in my weariness touched me”.
- “A Word went out” when Daniel began to pray. Our prayer, our faith in God’s word is a trigger for action in heaven. And Gabriel has “come to declare it (the word, the decree, the decision)”.
Seventy Weeks is Decreed
Daniel understood these words, but we need help. A good commentary brings these four short verses into a better context for us because they can bring together what is revealed in other books. “Daniel’s object was to prophesy to his nation as to the whole period from the destruction to the re-establishment of Israel; but this ninth chapter minutely predicts Christ’s first coming, and its effects on the covenant people.”7
We must also understand the time reference which is “literally, “Seventy sevens”; … four hundred ninety years”
“The Babylonian captivity is a turning point in the history of the kingdom of God. It terminated the free Old Testament theocracy. Up to that time Israel, though oppressed at times, was; as a rule, free. From the Babylonian captivity the theocracy never recovered its full freedom down to its entire suspension by Rome; and this period of Israel’s subjection to the Gentiles is to continue till the millennium (Rev 20:1–15)”.8
- Daniel 8:15–27 Make This Man Understand
- Daniel 9:1–10 According To The Word of Yahweh
- Daniel 9:20–23 A Word Went Out
- Daniel 8:15-27
- Daniel 9:1-27
- 1. Baldwin, J. G. (1978). Daniel: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 23, p. 177). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- 2. Baldwin, J. G. (1978). Daniel: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 23, p. 177). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- 3. Baldwin, J. G. (1978). Daniel: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 23, p. 178). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- 4. Stevenson, K., & Gluerup, M. (Eds.). (2008). Ezekiel, Daniel (p. 256). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- 5. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Da 9:2). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- 6. Baldwin, J. G. (1978). Daniel: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 23, p. 183). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- 7. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 640). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
- 8. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 640). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.