Daniel Prays for His People1In the first year of Darius ▼
▼ 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 vav (ו) 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.son of Ahasuerus, ▼
▼ 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.”who was of Median descent and who had been ▼
▼ 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.appointed king over the Babylonian ▼
▼ Heb “was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans.”empire – 2in the first year of his reign ▼ I, Daniel, came to understand from the sacred books ▼
▼ The Hebrew text has “books”; the word “sacred” has been added in the translation to clarify that it is Scriptures that are referred to.that, according to the word of the LORD ▼
▼ The tetragrammaton (the four Hebrew letters which constitute the divine Name, YHWH) appears eight times in this chapter, and nowhere else in the book of Daniel.disclosed to the prophet Jeremiah, the years for the fulfilling of the desolation of Jerusalem ▼ were seventy in number. 3So I turned my attention ▼
▼ Heb “face.”to the Lord God ▼
▼ The Hebrew phrase translated “Lord God” here is אֲדֹנָי הָאֱלֹהִים (’adonay ha’elohim).to implore him by prayer and requests, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. ▼
▼ When lamenting, ancient Israelites would fast, wear sackcloth, and put ashes on their heads to show their sorrow and contrition.4I prayed to the LORD my God, confessing in this way:
“O Lord, ▼ great and awesome God who is faithful to his covenant ▼
▼ Heb “who keeps the covenant and the loyal love.” The expression is a hendiadys.with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5we have sinned! We have done what is wrong and wicked; we have rebelled by turning away from your commandments and standards. 6We have not paid attention to your servants the prophets, who spoke by your authority ▼
▼ Heb “in your name.” Another option is to translate, “as your representatives.”to our kings, our leaders, and our ancestors, ▼ and to all the inhabitants ▼
▼ Heb “people.”of the land as well.
7 “You are righteous, ▼
▼ Heb “to you (belongs) righteousness.”O Lord, but we are humiliated this day ▼
▼ Heb “and to us (belongs) shame of face like this day.”– the people ▼
▼ Heb “men.”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. 8O LORD, we have been humiliated ▼
▼ Heb “to us (belongs) shame of face.”– our kings, our leaders, and our ancestors – because we have sinned against you. 9Yet the Lord our God is compassionate and forgiving, ▼
▼ Heb “to the Lord our God (belong) compassion and forgiveness.”even though we have rebelled against him. 10We have not obeyed ▼
▼ Heb “paid attention to the voice of,” which is an idiomatic expression for obedience (cf. NASB “nor have we obeyed the voice of”).the LORD our God by living according to ▼
▼ Heb “to walk in.”his laws ▼
▼ The LXX and Vulgate have the singular.that he set before us through his servants the prophets.
11 “All Israel has broken ▼
▼ Or “transgressed.” The Hebrew verb has the primary sense of crossing a boundary, in this case, God’s law.your law and turned away by not obeying you. ▼
▼ Heb “by not paying attention to your voice.”Therefore you have poured out on us the judgment solemnly threatened ▼
▼ Heb “the curse and the oath which 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.in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against you. ▼
▼ Heb “him.”12He has carried out his threats ▼
▼ Heb “he has fulfilled his word(s) which he spoke.”against us and our rulers ▼
▼ Heb “our judges.”who were over ▼
▼ Heb “who judged.”us by bringing great calamity on us – what has happened to Jerusalem has never been equaled under all heaven! 13Just as it is written in the law of Moses, so all this calamity has come on us. Still we have not tried to pacify ▼
▼ Heb “we have not pacified the face of.”the LORD our God by turning back from our sin and by seeking wisdom ▼
▼ Or “by gaining insight.”from your reliable moral standards. ▼ 14The LORD was mindful of the calamity, and he brought it on us. For the LORD our God is just ▼
▼ Or “righteous.”in all he has done, ▼
▼ Heb “in all his deeds which he has done.”and we have not obeyed him. ▼
▼ Heb “we have not listened to his voice.”
15 “Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with great power ▼
▼ Heb “with a powerful hand.”and made a name for yourself that is remembered to this day – we have sinned and behaved wickedly. 16O Lord, according to all your justice, ▼
▼ Or “righteousness.”please turn your raging anger ▼
▼ 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”).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 ▼
▼ Heb “hear.” Here the verb refers to hearing favorably, accepting the prayer and responding positively.the prayer and requests of your servant, and show favor to ▼ your devastated sanctuary for your own sake. ▼ 18Listen attentively, ▼
▼ Heb “turn your ear.”my God, and hear! Open your eyes and look on our desolated ruins ▼
▼ Heb “desolations.” The term refers here to the ruined condition of Judah’s towns.and the city called by your name. ▼ For it is not because of our own righteous deeds that we are praying to you, ▼
▼ Heb “praying our supplications before you.”but because your compassion is abundant. 19O 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.” ▼
Gabriel Gives to Daniel a Prophecy of Seventy Weeks20 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 ▼
▼ Heb “the holy mountain of my God.”– 21yes, while I was still praying, ▼
▼ Heb “speaking in prayer.”the man Gabriel, whom I had seen previously ▼
▼ Heb “in the beginning.”in a vision, was approaching me in my state of extreme weariness, ▼
▼ The Hebrew expression בִּיעָף מֻעָף (mu’af bi’af) is very difficult. The issue is whether the verb derives from עוּף (’uf, “to fly”) or from יָעַף (ya’af, “to be weary”). Many ancient versions and modern commentators take the first of these possibilities and understand the reference to be to the swift flight of the angel Gabriel in his coming to Daniel. The words more likely refer to the extreme weariness, not of the angel, but of Daniel. Cf. 7:28; 8:27; 10:8–9, 16–17; also NASB.around the time of the evening offering. 22He spoke with me, instructing me as follows: ▼
▼ Heb “he instructed and spoke with me.” The expression is a verbal hendiadys.“Daniel, I have now come to impart understanding to you. 23At the beginning of your requests a message went out, and I have come to convey it to you, for you are of great value in God’s sight. ▼
▼ Or “a precious treasure”; KJV “greatly beloved”; NASB, NIV “highly esteemed.”Therefore consider the message and understand the vision: ▼
▼ This sentence is perhaps a compound hendiadys (“give serious consideration to the revelatory vision”).
24 “Seventy weeks ▼
▼ Heb “sevens.” Elsewhere the term is used of a literal week (a period of seven days), cf. Gen 29:27–28; Exod 34:22; Lev 12:5; Num 28:26; Deut 16:9–10; 2 Chr 8:13; Jer 5:24; Dan 10:2–3. Gabriel unfolds the future as if it were a calendar of successive weeks. Most understand the reference here as periods of seventy “sevens” of years, or a total of 490 years.have been determined
concerning your people and your holy city
to put an end to ▼
▼ Or “to finish.” The present translation reads the Qere (from the root תָּמַם, tamam) with many witnesses. The Kethib has “to seal up” (from the root הָתַם, hatam), a confusion with a reference later in the verse to sealing up the vision.rebellion,
to bring sin ▼
▼ The present translation reads the Qere (singular), rather than the Kethib (plural).to completion, ▼
▼ The Hebrew phrase לְכַלֵּא (lekhalle’) is apparently an alternative (metaplastic) spelling of the root כָּלָה (kalah, “to complete, finish”), rather than a form of כָּלָא (kala’, “to shut up, restrain”), as has sometimes been supposed.
to atone for iniquity,
to bring in perpetual ▼
▼ Or “everlasting.”righteousness,
to seal up ▼ the prophetic vision, ▼
▼ Heb “vision and prophecy.” The expression is a hendiadys.
and to anoint a most holy place. ▼
▼ Or “the most holy place” (NASB, NLT); or “a most holy one”; or “the most holy one,” though the expression is used of places or objects elsewhere, not people.
25 So know and understand:
From the issuing of the command ▼
▼ Or “decree” (NASB, NIV); or “word” (NAB, NRSV).to restore and rebuild
Jerusalem ▼ until an anointed one, a prince arrives, ▼
▼ The word “arrives” is added in the translation for clarification.
there will be a period of seven weeks ▼ ▼
▼ The accents in the MT indicate disjunction at this point, which would make it difficult, if not impossible, to identify the “anointed one/prince” of this verse as messianic. The reference in v. 26 to the sixty-two weeks as a unit favors the MT accentuation, not the traditional translation. If one follows the MT accentuation, one may translate “From the going forth of the message to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until an anointed one, a prince arrives, there will be a period of seven weeks. During a period of sixty-two weeks it will again be built, with plaza and moat, but in distressful times.” The present translation follows a traditional reading of the passage that deviates from the MT accentuation.and sixty-two weeks.
It will again be built, ▼
▼ Heb “it will return and be built.” The expression is a verbal hendiadys.with plaza and moat,
but in distressful times.
26 Now after the sixty-two weeks,
an anointed one will be cut off and have nothing. ▼
▼ The expression have nothing is difficult. Presumably it refers to an absence of support or assistance for the anointed one at the time of his “cutting off.” The KJV rendering “but not for himself,” apparently suggesting a vicarious death, cannot be defended.
As for the city and the sanctuary,
the people of the coming prince will destroy ▼
▼ Some witnesses (e.g., the Syriac) understand a passive verb and the preposition עִם (’im, “with) rather than the noun עַם (’am, “people”), thus reading “the city and the sanctuary will be destroyed with the coming prince.”them.
But his end will come speedily ▼
▼ The words “will come speedily” are not in the Hebrew text but have been added in the translation for clarity.like a flood. ▼
▼ Flood here is a metaphor for sudden destruction.
Until the end of the war that has been decreed
there will be destruction.
27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one week. ▼
▼ Heb “one seven” (also later in this line).
But in the middle of that week
he will bring sacrifices and offerings to a halt.
On the wing ▼
▼ The referent of the Hebrew word כְּנַף (kenaf, “wing”) is unclear here. The LXX and Theodotion have “the temple.” Some English versions (e.g., NAB, NIV) take this to mean “a wing of the temple,” but this is not clear.of abominations will come ▼
▼ The Hebrew text does not have this verb, but it has been supplied in the translation for clarity.one who destroys,
until the decreed end is poured out on the one who destroys.”
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