Daniel 9 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Daniel 9)

Verse 1

[1] In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;

In the first year of Darius — That is, immediately after the overthrow of the kingdom of Babylon, which was the year of the Jews deliverance from captivity.

Of the Medes — This Darius was not Darius the Persian, under whom the temple was built, as some have asserted, to invalidate the credibility of this book; but Darius the Mede, who lived in the time of Daniel.

Verse 2

[2] In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

By books — By the sacred books.

Verse 12

[12] And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.

Judged us — Whose duty it was to govern the people, and to judge their causes; wherein if there was a failure, it was a sin, and judgment upon the people, and upon the rulers and judges themselves also.

Upon Jerusalem — A place privileged many ways above all others, and punished above all others.

Verse 14

[14] Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.

The Lord watched — God's watching denotes the fit ways that he always takes to punish sinners.

Verse 17

[17] Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake.

For the Lord's sake — For the sake of the Messiah: to whom the title Lord is frequently given in the Old Testament.

Verse 21

[21] Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even 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 oblation.

About the time — The time of the evening sacrifice was a solemn and set time of devotion. Tho' the altar was in ruins, and there was no oblation offered upon it, yet the pious Jews were daily thoughtful of the time when it should have been offered, and hoped that their prayer would be set forth before God as incense, and the lifting up of their hands, as the evening sacrifice. This was peculiarly a type of that great sacrifice, which Christ was to offer: and it was in virtue of that sacrifice, that Daniel's prayer was accepted, when he prayed for the Lord's sake.

Verse 24

[24] Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

Seventy weeks — These weeks are weeks of days, and these days are so many years.

To finish the transgression — The angel discovers first the disease in three several words, which contain all sorts of sin, which the Messiah should free us from by his full redemption. He shews the cure of this disease in three words. 1. To finish transgression. 2. To make an end of sin. 3. To make reconciliation: all which words are very expressive in the original, and signify to pardon, to blot out, to destroy.

To bring in everlasting righteousness — To bring in justification by the free grace of God in Christ, and sanctification by his spirit: called everlasting, because Christ is eternal, and so are the acceptance and holiness purchased for us. Christ brings this in, 1. By his merit. 2. By his gospel declaring it. 3. By faith applying, and sealing it by the Holy Ghost.

To seal up — To abrogate the former dispensation of the law, and to ratify the gospel covenant.

To anoint — This alludes to his name Messiah and Christ, both which signify anointed. Christ was anointed at his first conception, and personal union, Luke 1:35. In his baptism, Matthew 3:17, to his three offices by the holy Ghost, 1. King, Matthew 2:2. 2. Prophet, Isaiah 61:1. 3. Priest, Psalms 110:4.

Verse 25

[25] Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

From the going forth — From the publication of the edict, whether of Cyrus or Darius, to restore and to build it.

Verse 26

[26] And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

And after — After the seven and the sixty two that followed them.

Not for himself — But for our sakes, and for our salvation.

And the people — The Romans under the conduct of Titus.

Determined — God hath decreed to destroy that place and people, by the miseries and desolations of war.

Verse 27

[27] And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

He shall confirm — Christ confirmed the new covenant, 1. By the testimony of angels, of John baptist, of the wise men, of the saints then living, of Moses and Elias. 2. By his preaching. 3. By signs and wonders. 4. By his holy life. 5. By his resurrection and ascension. 6. By his death and blood shedding.

Shall cause the sacrifice to cease — All the Jewish rites, and Levitical worship. By his death he abrogated, and put an end to this laborious service, for ever.

And that determined — That spirit of slumber, which God has determined to pour on the desolate nation, 'till the time draws near, when all Israel shall be saved.