Online Bible Commentary
Daniel 9:16 "O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us. 17 Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord's sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. 18 O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. 19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name." 20 Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, 21yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, "O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. 23 At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision: (NKJV)
Daniel had been brought into captivity by Babylon in 605 B.C., as a teenager. Assuming he was fifteen at the time, Daniel would now be 81 years old. In this passage, he prays for his people, the Israelites.
The time is during that first year after Babylon was overthrown by the Medo-Persian Empire, 539-538 B.C., but prior to the decree from King Cyrus to release the Jews in 538 B.C. Daniel remained in Babylon.
This passage is the third passage from Daniel’s lengthy prayer for the restoration of Jerusalem. Daniel began his prayer by praising God. He then confessed the sins of himself and his people which continued through the second passage.
Now, in this passage, Daniel begins his supplications, his requests of God. He asks “let Your anger and Your fury be turned away” from Jerusalem, that city on the hill (v. 16). He petitions “hear the prayer of Your servant” and “cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate”, referring to the temple in Jerusalem that had been destroyed (v. 17).
Daniel appeals to the grace, the “mercies”, of God, not claiming any righteousness of himself or his people (v. 18). Then he completes his supplications with a pleading to “listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name” (v. 19).
While Daniel was still praying, God answered his prayer. He sent the angel Gabriel, flying “swiftly” so that he arrived about the time of the evening sacrifice at the temple, if the temple had still been standing. This was about three or four o’clock in the afternoon (vv. 20-21).
Gabriel told him “I have now come forth to give you skill to understand” (v. 22). He had been sent by God to personally answer Daniel’s prayer request as soon as Daniel began his supplications, because Daniel was “greatly beloved” by God (v. 23). In the next commentary, Gabriel answers Daniel’s prayer.
How amazing is it that God began to answer Daniel’s prayer as soon as he began asking? God is an awesome God! Of course, Daniel was clearly a man after God’s own heart. He lived his life to please God, and because of this God called him “greatly beloved.”
We too can be “greatly beloved” by God. It requires a heart for God. It requires seeing the world the way God sees the world, as Daniel was doing throughout his confession. It requires a commitment to obey God, to please God. It requires being a Christian. God answers the prayers of believers, His people.