Daniel 9

Daniel prays for the people

1 This is what happened in the first year that Darius ruled Babylonia. He was the son of Xerxes, a descendant of the Medes. He became the king of Babylonia. 2 In the first year that Darius was king, I, Daniel, was reading God's book. I read the message that the Lord had given to his prophet, Jeremiah. He told Jeremiah that Jerusalem would continue to be a heap of stones for 70 years.

9:1Xerxes was also called Ahasuerus.
9:2When we write Lord like this, it is a special name for God. Sometimes people write it as ‘Yahweh’, or as ‘Jehovah’. It is his own name that he told Moses. See Exodus 3:14. It means ‘I am who I am’. This shows that God has always been there and he always will be there.

3 So I turned to my Lord God, to ask him for help. I prayed to him and I ate no food. I wore clothes of rough sackcloth. I put ashes on myself to show that I was upset. 4 I prayed to the Lord my God. I agreed that we were guilty and I prayed this prayer:

‘Our Lord, you are a great God and we give you honour. In your covenant, you have promised to love your people. You continue to be faithful to those people who love you and obey your commands. 5 We have done bad things that are wicked and evil. We have turned against you. We have not obeyed your laws and your teaching. 6 We did not listen to your servants, the prophets. They spoke your message to our kings, to our rulers and to our ancestors. They spoke to all the people of our nation.

7 Our Lord, you always do what is right. Today we are very ashamed. The people of Judah, Jerusalem and all Israel have not been faithful to you. You have sent our people away to many countries. Some are near and some are far away. We are all ashamed because we have turned away from you. 8 Our kings, our leaders and our ancestors have turned away from you, Lord. So we are very ashamed. 9 Our Lord God, we have turned against you. But you are kind and you forgive people. 10 We have not obeyed the Lord our God. You sent your servants, the prophets, to give us your laws. But we have not lived in the way that your laws taught us.

11 All the people of Israel have turned away from your laws. We have refused to obey you. Your servant Moses gave us your laws. He warned us about your punishments. Now you have punished us in the way that he said. We have turned away from you. 12 So you have done what you promised to do to us and to our rulers. You have caused us to have terrible trouble. You have punished Jerusalem with more trouble than has ever happened to any other city. 13 All this trouble has come to us in the way that Moses wrote in the book of your laws. But we have still not tried to please you, the Lord our God. We have not turned away from our sins. We have not learned your true teaching. 14 So you were ready to punish us with this trouble. You are always right in everything that you do. You are right to punish us because we have not obeyed you.

15 Our Lord God, you used your great power to bring your people safely out of Egypt. You are still famous today because of what you did then. We know that we have done things that are wrong and wicked. 16 Our Lord, please stop being angry with us. Stop punishing your own city, Jerusalem, your holy mountain. Because of our sins and the evil things that our ancestors did, other people insult us. All the people who live near us laugh at Jerusalem and your people. So please do what is right, as you always do.

17 Our God, please accept my prayer. Please do what I have asked for. Your temple is now a heap of stones. Please bless it again, so that people will know that you are great. 18 Listen to us, my God. Our towns have become heaps of stones. See what has happened to the city that belongs to you. We do not ask you to do this because we are righteous people. We ask you because you are very kind. 19 Lord, please listen! Lord, please forgive us. Lord, please do what we have asked you to do. My God, please do it quickly, so that people give you honour. Help your city and your people who belong to you.’

Gabriel speaks to Daniel

20 I continued to pray and tell God about our sins. I agreed that I had done wrong things, and that my people, the Israelites, had also done wrong things. I asked the Lord my God to help Jerusalem, his holy mountain. 21 While I was praying, Gabriel came towards me. He was the same man that I had seen in the first vision. He flew quickly to me at the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He said to me, ‘Daniel, I have come to teach you, so that you can understand these things. 23 As soon as you started to pray, God sent his message. I have come to tell you the message, because you are very important to God. Listen carefully, so that you understand the meaning of your vision.

24 God has decided the time of punishment for your people and your holy city. It will continue for 70 weeks. That will finish the punishment for their sins. The people will no longer turn against God. They will have paid the price for their sins. God will cause them to live for ever in a way that is right. God will show that the visions and messages of the prophets are true. The Most Holy Place will belong to God again.

9:24Hebrew says ‘7 times 70’. This could mean 70 weeks (7 days times 70). Or it could mean 490 years (7 years times 70).

25 I want you, Daniel, to understand this properly. There will be a command to build Jerusalem again. Then 7 weeks will pass, and 62 weeks will also pass. After that, a ruler that God has chosen will arrive. People will build the city of Jerusalem again. It will have streets and a strong wall around it. But there will be a lot of trouble at that time. 26 After the 62 weeks have passed, people will kill the ruler that God had chosen. He will have nothing. Then a foreign ruler and his army will attack the city and the temple. He will destroy them quickly, like a flood of water. War and terrible trouble will continue until the end that God has decided.

9:25‘7 times 7’ could mean 7 weeks or 49 years. ‘62 times 7’ could mean 62 weeks or 434 years.

27 The foreign ruler will make an agreement with many people. That agreement will continue for one week. In the middle of that week, he will stop the sacrifices and offerings in the temple. Instead, he will put a disgusting thing there that causes trouble. It will remain there until God finally destroys the ruler who destroys. His end will happen at the time that God has decided.’