Daniel discovers a key verse in Jeremiah. He fasts and prays. Gabriel explains the verse.
VERSE 1. In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the offspring of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Kasdim,
the first year of Darius. This would have been 539 BC. It was 66 years after Daniel had been exiled.
Darius the son of Ahasuerus. Who is this? His identity is elusive. Here are a few theories:
POSSIBILITY 1: Darius is a nickname for “Cyrus.”
We can infer this from Daniel 6:28, which describes a king Darius as well as a king. It says:
Daniel 6:28. And this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Of the four possibilities we list here, this seems the most likely. After all, Cyrus frees the Jewish people to go back to Jerusalem. He pays to rebuild their city of Jerusalem. And he pays to rebuild their temple.
POSSIBILITY 2: Darius was appointed by Cyrus to rule the local Babylonian portion of the vast Medo-Persian empire.
Daniel 9:1 says Darius was “who was made king over the realm of the Kasdim.”
POSSIBILITY 3: Darius was the governor of Gutium, who conquered Babylon and was installed as governor of Babylon by Cyrus.
POSSIBILITY 4: Darius was a nickname for Cambyses, the ruler of Persia from 530–522 BC. Cambyses was the son of Cyrus.
VERSE 2. in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years about which the LORD’s word came to Jeremiah the prophet, for the accomplishing of the desolations of Jerusalem, even seventy years.
by the books. Daniel was a student of the Scriptures. He immersed himself in the Bible on a regular basis.
seventy years. Daniel discovers a terribly important piece of divine revelation. It is that their exile will end after seventy years.
Jeremiah prophesied that the exile in Babylon would last for seventy years. Read more »
VERSE 3. I set my face to the Lord God, to seek by prayer and petitions, with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.
NIV translation. So I turned to the LORD God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
fasting, and sackcloth and ashes. Daniel very much wants to understand those texts about the seventy years. He is intent on seeking God’s wisdom. Few of us are so deliberate in seeking God.
Have you ever wanted to know God’s will, so much that you fasted?
Fasting is a natural human impulse. And it is a wonderful companion during our special times of prayer to God.
VERSE 4. I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, “Oh, Lord, the great and dreadful God, who keeps covenant and loving kindness with those who love him and keep his commandments,
VERSE 5. we have sinned, and have dealt perversely, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even turning aside from your precepts and from your ordinances.
VERSE 6. We haven’t listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
VERSE 7. “Lord, righteousness belongs to you, but to us confusion of face, as it is today; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, who are near, and who are far off, through all the countries where you have driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against you.
VERSE 8. Lord, to us belongs confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you.
VERSE 9. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness; for we have rebelled against him.
VERSE 10. We haven’t obeyed the LORD our God’s voice, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.
VERSE 11. Yes, all Israel have transgressed your law, turning aside, that they should not obey your voice. “Therefore the curse and the oath written in the Torah of Moses the servant of God has been poured out on us; for we have sinned against him.
VERSE 12. He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us, and against our judges who judged us, by bringing on us a great evil; for under the whole sky, such has not been done as has been done to Jerusalem.
VERSE 13. As it is written in the Torah of Moses, all this evil has come on us. Yet we have not entreated the favor of the LORD our God, that we should turn from our iniquities and have discernment in your truth.
we have not entreated the favor of the LORD our God. We find our answers as we seek the LORD God.
VERSE 14. Therefore the LORD has watched over the evil, and brought it on us; for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he does, and we have not obeyed his voice.
VERSE 15. “Now, Lord our God, who has brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have gotten yourself renown, as it is today; we have sinned. We have done wickedly.
VERSE 16. Lord, according to all your righteousness, let your anger and please let your wrath be turned away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a reproach to all who are around us.
your city Jerusalem. Jerusalem is at the center of just about everything.
VERSE 17. “Now therefore, our God, listen to the prayer of your servant, and to his petitions, and cause your face to shine on your sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake.
VERSE 18. My God, turn your ear, and hear. Open your eyes, and see our desolations, and the city which is called by your name; for we do not present our petitions before you for our righteousness, but for your great mercies’ sake.
for your great mercies’ sake. Daniel does not have a works-based righteousness. He knows that it is not what we do. What matters is God’s mercy.
VERSE 19. Lord, hear. Lord, forgive. Lord, listen and do. Don’t defer, for your own sake, my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”
VERSE 20. While I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;
VERSE 21. yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening offering.
MSG translation. While I was absorbed in this praying, the humanlike Gabriel, the one I had seen in an earlier vision, approached me, flying in like a bird about the time of evening worship.
the humanlike Gabriel. Gabriel the angel appears to Daniel.
Gabriel is the agent through whom the LORD God responds to Daniel’s fasting and prayer.
VERSE 22. He instructed me and talked with me, and said, Daniel, “I have now come to give you wisdom and understanding.
VERSE 23. At the beginning of your petitions the commandment went out, and I have come to tell you; for you are greatly beloved. Therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision.
the answer was given. Some translations say, “The word went forth.”
As soon as Daniel began to pray, God declared the answer.
It might have seemed to Daniel that God was withholding the answer. But in actuality, God answered Daniel the very moment that Daniel began to pray.
Or it might have seemed to Daniel that God was delaying the answer.
But in actuality, God delivered the answer at the best possible moment. God answered Daniel’s prayer in the fullness of time. It was when the time was ripe.
For Daniel, God’s answer consisted of deciphering the puzzle. God explained their troubled existence. God unlocked the prophecy of Jeremiah.
In our own lives, it might seem that God isn’t answering. Or it might seem that God is dragging his feet and delaying the answer. But our prayer is answered right away. The answer is on the way!
VERSE 24. “Seventy weeks are decreed on your people and on your holy city, to finish disobedience, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.
Seventy weeks. The holy people would be in exile for a total of 70 “weeks.” In this verse, the word “weeks” is a biblical code word for “years.” So after 70 years, God would finally deliver them!
God’s deliverance wasn’t just in one area only. It was total:
to finish disobedience. Abuse against them will finally end. People will no longer transgress against them. People will no longer rebel against them. Nobody will make their life difficult any more.
to make an end of sins. Sin against them will finally end. Other people will no longer sin against them. Nobody will commit crimes against them any more.
They finally get justice. This justice given to them is much fuller than the ordinary sense of justice.
It is much more expansive. It is beyond the justice a courtroom can deliver. It includes civil justice and ecclesial justice. And more.
They get eternal justice. They get justice from God’s perspective. The LORD God will set things right for them. He will set things right for them in every possible way.
make reconciliation for iniquity. /Their sense of guilt is gone.
For them, their guilt was largely false. Outsiders had projected their own feelings of guilt and shortcomings onto the Jewish people.
Other outsiders had blamed them. And somehow the Jews had accepted all that false guilt.
to seal up vision. Mystical visions and prophetic words are restored.
to anoint the most holy. Other translations say “the holy of holies.” In the future, they will celebrate an unbelievable moment. They re-dedicate the Temple.
VERSE 25. “Know therefore and discern that from the going out of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem to the Anointed One, the prince, will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It will be built again, with street and moat, even in troubled times.
seven sevens … sixty-two sevens. This verse can seem very puzzling. Here are a few insights:
It would take 7 “weeks” until the leader of the rebuilding is put into place.
The rebuilding effort itself takes a further 62 “weeks.”
The total time span is 7 + 62, which equals 69 “weeks.”
If that means literal weeks (and not years), that is a total of 5.75 years. Call it six years. That’s how long it took Nehemiah to rebuilt Jerusalem.
These six years won’t always be the most pleasant of times. The Enemy will oppose what they do. The Enemy will try to stop them, through a variety of unfair and illegal means, including intimidation and threats.
In the Book of Nehemiah, we see the many ways that Sanballat and others opposed Nehemiah and his restoration team. But they kept right on restoring the Holy City, the new and eternal Jerusalem.
It was awesome! It is awesome. It will be awesome for all of eternity!
VERSE 26. After the sixty-two weeks the Anointed One will be cut off, and will have nothing. The people of the prince who come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end will be with a flood, and war will be even to the end. Desolations are determined.
Revelation 6:2. And behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow. A crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.
VERSE 27. He will make a firm covenant with many for one week. In the middle of the week he will cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease. On the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate; and even to the full end, and that determined, wrath will be poured out on the desolate.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.