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4I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying,

“Ah, Lord, great and awesome God, keeping covenant and steadfast love with those who love you and keep your commandments, 5we have sinned and done wrong, acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and ordinances.


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4. my confession—according to God's promises in Le 26:39-42, that if Israel in exile for sin should repent and confess, God would remember for them His covenant with Abraham (compare De 30:1-5; Jer 29:12-14; Jas 4:10). God's promise was absolute, but prayer also was ordained as about to precede its fulfilment, this too being the work of God in His people, as much as the external restoration which was to follow. So it shall be at Israel's final restoration (Ps 102:13-17). Daniel takes his countrymen's place of confession of sin, identifying himself with them, and, as their representative and intercessory priest, "accepts the punishment of their iniquity." Thus he typifies Messiah, the Sin-bearer and great Intercessor. The prophet's own life and experience form the fit starting point of the prophecy concerning the sin atonement. He prays for Israel's restoration as associated in the prophets (compare Jer 31:4, 11, 12, 31, &c.) with the hope of Messiah. The revelation, now granted, analyzes into its successive parts that which the prophets, in prophetical perspective, heretofore saw together in one; namely, the redemption from captivity, and the full Messianic redemption. God's servants, who, like Noah's father (Ge 5:29), hoped many a time that now the Comforter of their afflictions was at hand, had to wait from age to age, and to view preceding fulfilments only as pledges of the coming of Him whom they so earnestly desired to see (Mt 13:17); as now also Christians, who believe that the Lord's second coming is nigh, are expected to continue waiting. So Daniel is informed of a long period of seventy prophetic weeks before Messiah's coming, instead of seventy years, as he might have expected (compare Mt 18:21, 22) [Auberlen].

great and dreadful God—as we know to our cost by the calamities we suffer. The greatness of God and His dreadful abhorrence of sin should prepare sinners for reverent, humble acknowledgment of the justice of their punishment.

keeping … covenant and mercy—that is, the covenant of Thy mercy, whereby Thou hast promised to deliver us, not for our merits, but of Thy mercy (Eze 36:22, 23). So weak and sinful is man that any covenant for good on God's part with him, to take effect, must depend solely on His grace. If He be a God to be feared for His justice, He is one to be trusted for His "mercy."

love … keep his commandments—Keeping His commandments is the only sure test of love to God (Joh 14:15).

5. Compare Nehemiah's confession (Ne 9:1-38).

sinned … committed iniquity … done wickedly … rebelled—a climax. Erred in ignorance … sinned by infirmity … habitually and wilfully done wickedness … as open and obstinate rebels set ourselves against God.




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