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Relationship to Daniel. The relationship of Chapter 9 to Daniel as a whole, and in particular to the account of refusing the king's food in Chapter 1, is discussed at Daniel. The historical setting of Chapter 9 is also discussed at Daniel.
Story. Chapter 9 tells the story of Gabriel visiting Daniel and informing him about the purification and future history of Jerusalem. Chapter 9 has three principal parts.
- A. Israel’s punishment for sin and the restoration of Jerusalem (Daniel 9)
- Verses 3-15: Daniel confesses his and Israel’s sins.
- Verses 16-19: Daniel requests forgiveness and restoration for Jerusalem.
- Verses 20-27: Gabriel prophesies seventy weeks of restoration.
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 9 include:
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In the first year of King Nebuchadnezzar, about 605 BC, the Lord prophesied in Jeremiah 25:12 that in 70 years he would punish Babylon. The Persian king Cyrus conquered Babylon 66 years later in 539 BC. (Prophecy is often given in round numbers that convey symbolic meaning rather than identifying the precise day on which an event will occur.)
In the first year of Zedekiah’s reign over Judah as a Babylonian vassal, about 597 BC, the Lord also prophesied in Jeremiah 29:10 that in 70 years the Jews who had just been carried off to Babylon would return home to Jerusalem. Zerubbabel led the first returning group during the first year of King Cyrus, about 538 BC, or 59 years later (Ezra 1-2). Daniel is subsequently reading Jeremiah 29:10 during the first year of King Darius (9:1-2), about 522 BC, or 75 years after it was received.
Daniel begins to pray by confessing his and particularly Israel’s sins. Israel has sinned, departed from the way, and not hearkened to the prophets (9:5-6, 10-11). Righteousness belongs to the Lord, but so do mercy and forgiveness (9:7a, 9). Because of Israel’s sins, it currently suffers “confusion of face” (9:7b-8). Because Israel did not pray and repent when punished, even further evils were brought upon it (9:12-14). But again, God is both just and merciful (9:14-15).
Daniel then requests that the Lord forgive his people and restore Jerusalem, not for the sake of the unworthy people called by his name, but so that his name will again be had in respect among the nations (9:16-19).
While Daniel is praying, Gabriel (Noah per TPJS 157) appears and provides him with a vision and its interpretation (9:20-23). At the center of this section Gabriel prophecies that the Jews shall inhabit Jerusalem for 70 “weeks,” enough time for Christ to work the atonement and for the Jews to again become ripe for destruction (9:24-26). The city wall will be rebuilt after 7 weeks (about 445 BC), after another 62 weeks the Messiah will be cut off (33 AD), and in the 70th week the temple will be destroyed and the sacrifice will cease (70 AD) (9:25-27).
The first two verses of Daniel state that Judah is given into the hand of King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 9:5-15 finally explains why.
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