From Daniel 7-9
In exile, Daniel confesses Israel’s sins and acknowledges the LORD’s covenant righteousness in His dealings with them. Depending on the LORD’s steadfast love, Daniel requests mercy and forgiveness which only belong to those God considers his covenant people.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Today’s passage begins with Daniel looking over the scriptures.
9 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.(Dan 9.1-2)
Daniel is reading the prophecies of Jeremiah.
The punishment allocated to Jerusalem and Judah would be seventy years in exile (Jer 25.8-14; 29.10-14; cf. Zech 1.12).
3 Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession, saying,
“O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments,
5 we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. 6 We have not 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.
7 To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you.
8 To us, O LORD, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you.
9 To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him 10 and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.(Dan 9.3-10)
Daniel acknowledges he and Israel are guilty of breaking the covenant and not listened to the LORD’s frequent attempts to get them to repent.
I’m sure Daniel has sinned in his life. But that being said I think he has lived an exemplary life and does love the LORD and keep his commands (cf. Dan 9.23; Eze 14.14,20). Daniel is humbling himself before the LORD. He identifies with his own people and represents them. Such that their sin becomes his.
Daniel also recognises the LORD is a God of mercy and forgiveness.
11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him.
12 He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem.
13 As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the LORD our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. (Dan 9.11-13)
‘As it is written in the Law of Moses’. In the law of Moses (the covenant law) the LORD promises to punish those who break his commands and rebel against him (Dt 28.15f).
14 Therefore the LORD has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice.15 And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly. (Dan 9.14-15)
‘The LORD our God is righteous in all the works he has done’ to Israel in punishing them according to his covenant obligations.
The reference to Israel past act of salvation begins Daniels plea for the LORD to rescue Israel from exile in the same way as he did from Egypt.
16 “O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us.
17 Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate.
18 O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. 19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.” (Dan 9.16-19)
In light of Jeremiah’s prophecy of seventy years of punishment, Daniel asks the LORD to turn away his anger and wrath. He wants the LORD to see their suffering and to relent. He acknowledges Israel’s lack of righteousness, but appeals the LORD’s mercy relationship with his people to forgive.
Daniel is working entirely within his understanding of the covenant relationship he and Israel have with the LORD. According to the covenant the LORD punishes his people for disobedience. But he also gives mercy and forgiveness to his chosen people and will act to fulfill his promises to restore them into right relationship with himself.
After Jesus was born, Mary recognises the current low state of Israel and how the LORD is acting on his mercy (giving the covenant promises) to Abraham’s offspring.
46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; 52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” (Lk 1.46-55)
The LORD punishes his people for disobedience. But his people are always able to ask his for mercy and forgiveness and he will answer. He sent Jesus after all.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.