We know the “books” Daniel was reading (v. 2) were the books of the Bible, for he mentions the Book of Jeremiah. He may have been hearing from God directly in visions, but he still made time to read the Bible, even though he was busy “in the first year of Darius” (v. 1) being head over two presidents, 120 princes, and the entire kingdom of Babylon (5:31—6:2). Shouldn’t you make time for it? It gave Daniel the courage to face the lion’s den in the rest of Daniel 6, and it will give you courage in your life’s biggest challenge to faith too—and all your little daily challenges to faith as well!
Daniel had obviously been reading Jeremiah 25:8-12 and 29:10, where God said that Israel would be released from captivity in Babylon after 70 years, and 70 years were up! He no doubt rejoiced, all because he knew exactly where he stood in the program of God. We do too! That’s what “right-ly dividing the word of truth” is all about! (II Tim. 2:15).
But if he was happy, why did he act sad (v. 3 cf. Esther 4:3), and begin to confess his sins (v. 4, 5)? It was because he knew from another book of the Bible that Israel’s release wasn’t an automatic thing just because time was up. They had to confess their sins (Lev. 26:27-42) and admit they deserved to have spent 70 years in bondage to Babylon’s king for ignoring God’s warnings in His Word, and His prophets (Dan. 9: 6). That left God no choice but to do what He said and judge them 70 years. He’d have been unrighteous if He didn’t, and as Daniel pointed out, righteousness belonged to Him (v. 7).
“Confusion of faces” means shamefacedness (cf. Ps. 44:15), so Daniel was saying, “God was righteous to judge us, and we should be ashamed of ourselves.” When he mentions Jerusalem, Judah, and “all Israel” near and “far off,” that can’t mean Gentiles, for they didn’t need to be ashamed for breaking a law God never gave them. But many believers teach that those “afar off” in Acts 2:39 are Gentiles because they think the Body of Christ, made up of Jews and Gentiles, began there, instead of later when God sent Paul to the Gentiles. But if it did, we should preach the same “baptism for salvation” message that Peter preached there. We know it didn’t, because Peter mentions a “promise” God made those afar off, and He never made any to Gentiles (Eph. 2:12)
“Seventy years” of captivity wasn’t an arbitrary number. There were lots of ways Israel’s “fathers…rebelled” against God (Dan. 9:8, 9), but one specific way caused God to judge them exactly 70 years. They were to let their farmland rest every 7th year (Lev. 25:2-4; 26:33-35), but they ignored that law for 490 years, just like they ignored the prophets.
That means the punishment fit the crime perfectly. God’s judgments always do! When unbelievers say God is unrighteous to punish men in hell for eternity, that just shows they don’t know that a sin against an eternally holy God demands an eternal punishment.
The “curse” of Daniel 9:10, 11 is the last of five courses of curses God outlined in Leviticus 26, each one of which got more severe if they ignored the first judgments. And they ignored them all, as they ignored the law and the prophets.
“Confirmeth” (Dan. 9:12) means to do what you say you will do. God’s people in Israel said they’d obey all the law (Ex. 24:6, 7), but when they didn’t confirm their words by doing them (Deut. 27:26), God “fulfilled” or confirmed His Word by punishing them as He said He would. And when He was faithful to His Word, I doubt they were singing “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” But Daniel was, as was Jeremiah (Lam. 2:17). The reason Jeremiah could say that, and then say “great is Thy faithfulness” (3:22, 23) is—as he points out there—because it was of God’s mercy that they weren’t consumed instead of enslaved for 70 years.
Daniel said the captivity was the worst thing that ever happened to anyone (9:12), and Ezekiel added it was the worst that that ever would happen to anyone (5:7-9). So why’d the Lord say the Tribulation was (Mt. 24:15-21)? The captivity was a type of the Tribulation, so many of the things said about it were types of the Tribulation, just as many things said about the fall of Babylon will have another fulfillment in Antichrist’s Babylon. That’s why Daniel told the Jews to “turn” (9:13) or repent, just as John did (Mt. 3:2; 4:17).
A video of this sermon is available on YouTube: Daniel and the Book of Books – Daniel 9:1-14