Daniel reads something in the Book of Jeremiah
1 This is what happened in the first year that Darius ruled the country. He was the son of Xerxes and he came from the country called Media. He became king of Babylon. 2 Before he had been king for one year, I, Daniel, was studying the words in God's book. I read what the LORD had told Jeremiah the prophet. He told him that Jerusalem would continue to be broken and empty for 70 years. Nobody would live there.
Daniel prays about the words that he has read
3 So I started to pray very much to the LORD God, and I stopped eating food. I put on old clothes and I threw ashes over myself. I wanted to show how sad I felt.
4 I prayed to the LORD my God. And I said to him that we had done wrong things. ‘Lord, you are the great God and we give honour to you’, I prayed. ‘You keep your promises to those who obey your Laws. You always love those who love you.’
5 ‘We have been very bad’, I prayed. ‘We have done wrong and evil things. We have not obeyed your rules. 6 We did not listen to the prophets who are your servants. They told your message to our kings, to our rulers, to our fathers and to all the people. 7 LORD, you always do what is right. We are people from Judah, from Jerusalem and from all Israel. We have done bad things and we are ashamed. We have not been faithful to you. So some of us are near here, but you have sent some of us to countries far away. 8 LORD, we are ashamed because we have not obeyed you. Our kings, their sons and our fathers are ashamed. 9 LORD our God, we have not been faithful to you, but you forgive us. 10 We have not obeyed you, the LORD our God. You sent your servants, the prophets with your message. They gave your rules to us. But we have not obeyed those Laws. 11 None of the people from Israel have obeyed your Laws. We have turned away from you. We have refused to obey you. We read the book that your servant Moses wrote. We read about your punishments, but we did not do anything about it. So now, you have punished us because we did not obey you. 12 You did what you promised to do to our rulers and to us. So you punished us. You punished Jerusalem more than anywhere else under heaven. 13 You have punished us as Moses wrote in his book. And still we have not tried to make you happy, the LORD our God. We do wrong things still and we do not obey your Laws. 14 So you remembered the punishments that you had told us about. Everything that you, the LORD God, do is right. And we did not obey you.’
15 ‘LORD our God’, I said, ‘you brought your people out of the country called Egypt by your power. You caused many people to know your name. Many people know about you still. But we did more wrong things and we have been very bad. 16 LORD, you have always done what is right. Please stop being angry with the people from Jerusalem. It is your special city. All the people that live round us laugh about Jerusalem in a bad way. And they laugh about your people. That is happening because our fathers were so bad. And we have been evil also. 17 So now, our God, I am praying to you. Please listen to me because I am your servant. Listen to me while I pray! So then people will know that you are God. LORD, be kind to your empty house. 18 Listen to us, LORD. Look at the city that belongs to you. Nobody lives there now. We do not pray for things because we are good. We pray to you because you are kind. 19 Lord, listen. Lord, forgive us. Lord, listen because the city and your people are yours. Do something quickly. Then people will know that you are God.’
God sends the angel called Gabriel to Daniel
20 I continued to pray. I was saying that all the people of Israel had done wrong things. I was praying to the LORD my God about his holy place.
21 And while I was praying, Gabriel came to me. He was the same man that I had seen in the first dream. He flew quickly to me. It was about the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He came and he spoke to me. ‘Daniel, I have come so that you can understand’, he said. 23 ‘As soon as you started to pray, God sent the answer. I have come to tell you the answer because God really loves you. Now listen to me. I will explain what you have seen.’
24 ‘God has chosen 490 years (in other words, 70 × 7 years)’, Gabriel said. ‘This is about your people and the holy city. Then God will stop people doing bad things. He will pay for the wrong things that people have done. He will make everything completely good for always. All that the prophets wrote about will happen. And he will anoint the most holy one.’
The 490 years
25 ‘I want you to know and understand. Someone will tell men that they must build Jerusalem again. After 49 years (in other words, 7 × 7), people will build Jerusalem city again. They will build streets and a wall. But God's people will have much trouble during this time. Then there will be 434 years (in other words, 62 × 7) more. Then, the special ruler that God has chosen will come. 26 After the 434 years, people will kill the special ruler that God has sent. He will have nothing. Then a foreign ruler will come with his army and he will destroy the city and the holy place. The end will be like a fast river. War will continue until the end of that time. God has said that people would destroy things. 27 The ruler will agree with many people for 7 years. In the middle of the 7 years he will stop all the sacrifices. He will put a thing that is not holy in the holy place. And it will stay there until God decides to kill this ruler. Then his end will happen.’