Daniel 9:1-2; The Prophecy of Jeremiah~ 20220612 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

06/12_Daniel 09:1-2; The Prophecy of Jeremiah Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20220612_dan09_1-2.mp3

Daniel 9 comes in the first year of Darius the Mede, likely another name for Cyrus the Great, who conquered Babylon in 539 BC, on the night of Belshazzar’s feast recorded in Daniel chapter 5. This is the Darius who intended to put Daniel in charge of his entire kingdom, but who was manipulated by his other top officials to pass a law that ended up getting Daniel thrown to the lions in Daniel 6. Daniel 7 and 8 jump back in time and give visions revealed to Daniel respectively in the first and third years of Belshazzar. These were bizarre apocalyptic visions featuring composite animals and beasts with multiple horns symbolizing coming kings and empires.

Daniel 9 is different. Daniel 9 records the prayer of Daniel in response to his reading of the Scriptures, a model prayer of repentance and faith. Daniel’s prayer is interrupted by an angelic messenger sent to reveal future events. After a brief introduction, the bulk of the chapter, verses 3-19 record Daniel’s prayer, verses 20-23 introduce Gabriel interrupting his prayer, and the final verses, 24-27, contain the content of the message.

The introduction in verses 1-2 is key to understanding both Daniel’s prayer and the revelation given to Daniel.

Daniel 9:1 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. 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, ...

Sovereign LORD

Daniel was taken from his homeland in 605 BC by Nebuchadnezzar, and had spent the last 67 years serving a succession of kings with faithfulness and integrity. Babylon had fallen to the Medo-Persian army, and Daniel continued to serve faithfully the next God-ordained leadership. Darius the Mede was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans, in fulfillment of the divine handwriting on the wall in chapter 5. ”your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians” (5:28). God is in control of human history.

Studying Prophecy

We don’t know whether this vision came before or after the lion’s den incident of chapter 6, where we learn of Daniels persevering habit of regular prayer, but in this chapter we get a glimpse into the content of his prayers.

Daniel 9:1 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.

In Daniel 2 and 4 the king has a dream and Daniel is given the interpretation. In Daniel 7 and 8 Daniel himself has a dream or a vision and is given the interpretation by an angelic being. But here in Daniel 9, Daniel is reading his Bible, studying the Scriptures, and what he reads drives him to his knees. Daniel perceived in the books, literally the writings.

Daniel is reading the sacred writings that he had access to. This would include the five books of Moses, probably some of the writings like Psalms and Proverbs, and specifically Jeremiah.

History of Jeremiah (c.627-587 BC)

Jeremiah lived during the turbulent days of the decline and fall of Judah. He was called to prophesy during the reign of Josiah, the last faithful king of Judah. Jerusalem was caught in the middle of tension between Assyria, Egypt and Babylon. The Assyrian capital of Nineveh fell to Babylon in 612 BC. Josiah died in battle with Egypt in 609 BC, and Egypt appointed Jehoiakim to rule, but in 605 BC when Babylon invaded, Jehoiakim held on to power by allying himself with Babylon. It was 605 BC when Nebuchadnezzar carried off some of the nobility, including Daniel and his friends, and the temple vessels to Babylon. Jehoiakim rebelled against Babylon, and in 597 Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem. Jehoiachin surrendered, and Nebuchadnezzar appointed Zedekiah to the throne in his place and took 10,000 captives to Babylon, including Ezekiel (2Ki.24). Zedekiah rebelled against Babylon, and in 586 BC Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city and the temple (2 Ki.25), and appointed Gedaliah to govern Jerusalem (Jer.39). But there was a revolt and Gedaliah was murdered (Jer.41), and many of those involved in the uprising for fear of Babylonian retaliation sought counsel from Jeremiah. God promised to protect them if they remained in the land, but warned that if they fled to Egypt they would not survive (Jer.42). But they accused Jeremiah of lying and they took him by force and brought him to Egypt.

Prophecy of Jeremiah

In 605 BC, before Nebuchadnezzar first came to Jerusalem and took captive Daniel and his friends, Jeremiah had addressed the people.

Jeremiah 25:1 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (that was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), 2 which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: 3 “For twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, to this day, the word of the LORD has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened. 4 You have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear, although the LORD persistently sent to you all his servants the prophets, 5 saying, ‘Turn now, every one of you, from his evil way and evil deeds, and dwell upon the land that the LORD has given to you and your fathers from of old and forever. 6 Do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, or provoke me to anger with the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm.’ 7 Yet you have not listened to me, declares the LORD, that you might provoke me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm. 8 “Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: Because you have not obeyed my words, 9 behold, I will send for all the tribes of the north, declares the LORD, and for Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these surrounding nations. I will devote them to destruction, and make them a horror, a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. 10 Moreover, I will banish from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the grinding of the millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, declares the LORD, making the land an everlasting waste. 13 I will bring upon that land all the words that I have uttered against it, everything written in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations. 14 For many nations and great kings shall make slaves even of them, and I will recompense them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.”

It is possible that Daniel as a youth heard this address to the people of Judah before Nebuchadnezzar had come to Jerusalem, but now, 67 years later, a copy of this prophecy had come to Daniel, and Daniel was studying it. This prophecy was now history; it spoke of God’s persistent warnings through the prophets Jeremiah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, to turn from their evil ways and their idolatries and listen to the LORD. But they refused to listen, so the LORD brought Nebuchadnezzar to ruin the land and to make them serve Babylon seventy years. Daniel was part of the first group carried captive to Babylon some 67 years ago, so he picked up on this promise of seventy years as being just about to end. The prophecy spoke of punishing the king of Babylon; Daniel had seen Nebuchadnezzar humbled years earlier (ch.4) and he had seen Belshazzar the proud final king of Babylon lose control of himself as he saw the handwriting on the wall. Daniel was there to witness the fall of Babylon to the Medo-Persians without a fight. The Babylonian empire had fallen, but still the people of God were in exile. When would the desolations of Jerusalem come to an end?

Sometime after Nebuchadnezzar took the second group of captives in 597 BC, Jeremiah wrote a letter to the captives in Babylon, which we now have as chapter 29 of Jeremiah

Jeremiah 29:4 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. 8 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, 9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the LORD. 10 “For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Scriptures; The Word of the LORD

Daniel calls Jeremiah a prophet, and he says what he is studying in the writings is ‘the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet.’ Daniel recognizes what we would call the inspiration and authority of the Scriptures, that what he is reading is breathed out by God. This is the very word of YHWH.

Whether Daniel took this prophecy of seventy years to mean exactly seventy years, or as a round number meaning about seventy years, a typical lifespan, he took the prophecy at face value. 70 is a concrete number, not an indeterminate period of time. He took it seriously, and expectantly, but not presumptuously. He understood that the appointed time of captivity was close to being over, but he may have wondered if anyone had yet learned the lessons it was meant to teach. He knew he had been in Babylon close to 70 years, but was it to be counted from that first wave of captives taken by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BC, or was it the major deportation of 597 or was it 586 when the temple was destroyed? He was reading the prophecy, recognizing it was speaking to his circumstances, he believed that it was the very word of God and that God would be true to his word, but some of the details of exactly when and how this would unfold were unclear. So he prayed.

Sabbath Rest for the Land

Daniel would have been familiar with the required Sabbath years from Leviticus 25

Leviticus 25:1 The LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you, the land shall keep a Sabbath to the LORD. 3 For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, 4 but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the LORD. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. 5 You shall not reap what grows of itself in your harvest, or gather the grapes of your undressed vine. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land.

The people were given rest from their labors every seventh day. The land also was to be given rest every seventh year. But there was a warning attached to disobedience;

Leviticus 26:18 And if in spite of this you will not listen to me, then I will discipline you again sevenfold for your sins, ...21 “Then if you walk contrary to me and will not listen to me, I will continue striking you, sevenfold for your sins. ... 24 then I also will walk contrary to you, and I myself will strike you sevenfold for your sins. ... 34 “Then the land shall enjoy its Sabbaths as long as it lies desolate, while you are in your enemies' land; then the land shall rest, and enjoy its Sabbaths. 35 As long as it lies desolate it shall have rest, the rest that it did not have on your Sabbaths when you were dwelling in it.

2 Chronicles 36:21 connects the 70 year exile prophesied by Jeremiah with the failure of the people to give the land its Sabbath rest.

Response to Prophecy: Why Pray?

Think about this; Daniel believed that God is sovereign over history, and that he always keeps his word and does what he says he will do without fail. When Daniel discovered this prophecy that promised an end to the captivity in 70 years, what did he do? What would you do? I think we would rejoice, tell all our friends what we discovered and invite them to celebrate with us, maybe write a book and hold seminars on the amazing discovery, maybe even rub it in the face of those we had been serving for so long.

But when Daniel perceived the promised end of the desolations of Jerusalem was near, he got on his face and confessed his sins and cried out to God for mercy. Why? Daniel understood that the whole captivity was a result of the heart attitudes of the people. So Daniel wanted to be sure his own heart was in the right place, a place of humility, coming clean before God, confessing sins, acknowledging God for who he is, his right and justice to judge, and his character as merciful and compassionate, giving us the good we don’t deserve.

Daniel knew Leviticus, and Leviticus 26, after warning of the consequence of captivity for refusing to give the land its rest, goes on to say:

Leviticus 26:40 “But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers in their treachery that they committed against me, and also in walking contrary to me, 41 so that I walked contrary to them and brought them into the land of their enemies—if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, 42 then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.

Daniel understood that God is merciful and gracious to those who acknowledge their sin, who humble themselves and confess their treachery and rebellion. There is an ‘if’. If they confess their iniquity ...then I will remember my covenant. Daniel got on his face to fulfill that ‘if’.

Think about this; how can God unilaterally make a promise that is contingent on the response of his people? If they humble themselves then I will remember my covenant;

Jeremiah 29:10 “For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.

How can God’s promises be both contingent on our response and sovereignly decreed by him? God’s word is living and powerful and it accomplishes what it sets out to do. Daniel read the Scriptures, and perceived God’s promise, and God’s word did a work in his heart and he got on his face and confessed his sins.

Are you hearing God’s word? Is God working in you through his word? Is he working in you humility and confession and a cry for mercy from a God who loves to give mercy to sinners who don’t deserve it? Confess your sins and cry out for mercy today!


2022.06.12 Sermon Notes

Daniel 9:1-2; The Prophecy of Jeremiah

Daniel was studying God’s word

Daniel 9:1-2

612 BC Assyrian capital Nineveh falls to Babylon

609 BC Josiah dies in battle w/ Egypt; Jehoiakim appointed

605 BC Babylon invades Jerusalem; takes Daniel

597 BC Babylon sieges rebelling Jerusalem; Jehoiakim surrenders;

Zedekiah appointed; 10,000 captives taken (2 Kings 24)

586 BC Babylon destroys Jerusalem temple and walls; (2 Kings 25)

Gedaliah appointed, then assassinated (Jeremiah 39-41)

rebels flee to Egypt, take Jeremiah (Jeremiah 42)

Jeremiah prophesied seventy years to end the desolations of Jerusalem

Jeremiah 25, 29

The seventy years were the Sabbath rest for the land

Leviticus 25-26; 2 Chronicles 36

Daniel perceived God’s sovereign promise, so he humbled himself, prayed, and confessed his sins

Leviticus 26:40-46; Hebrews 4:12; Isaiah 55:11


Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org