Please allow me to go back to time when Daniel was still alive. I got most of my research him and from Atossa, daughter of Cyrus.
His work was not only limited to the Babylonian capital, but he also visited Shushan where I lived. Shushan. I often think of him when I read his book on the history of God’s people and how he converted Nebuchadnezzar to the worship of our God.
In one of his prophecies my son Artaxerxes was involved. At a later stage I will tell you more about my marriage to Ahasuerus or Xerxes as he was also called by the Greeks.
Let me read you this prophecy:
Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.
Daniel is referring to me and my people, the Jews, which are God’s chosen people who was to proclaim His character to the world. I read from the book of Ezekiel that a day in prophesy refers to a literal year.” I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year.”
You also find the year-day principle in one of the books that our great prophet and deliverer Moses wrote:
Numbers 14:34 For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.’
In the next verse my prophet Daniel prophesied of the coming of the Messiah to solve the sin problem. Listen to this good news:
Daniel 9:25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
This is one of the greatest Messianic prophecies in the Bible. It prophesied the exact date of the death of the Messiah.’ Is it possible that Ezra and Nehemiah understood this prophecy?
Daniel 9:26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself.
Daniel also studied the prophecy of Jeremiah 29:10-14. Let me read it to you:
Jeremiah 29:10,11 For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:12,13 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:14 I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
Daniel not only gave time related prophecies, but he also relied on time related prophecies by Isaiah who wrote:
Isaiah 4:27 Who says to the deep, ‘Be dry! And I will dry up your rivers’; (He is referring to the Euphrates River)
Isaiah 44:28 Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.” ‘
But can you imagine the excitement of my people when the read this prophecy of a restoration of the Jews as a nation?
Daniel and my exiled Jews saw the fulfilment of this prophecy when the water level of Euphrates was suddenly dropping and diverted in a different direction.
DARIUS THE MEDE AND CYRUS
You can read the story of the night when the soldiers of the Medes and the Persians captured the famous capital of the Babylonians.
Daniel’s skills were known to the ancient rulers and Darius the Mede made Daniel the chief administrator of the combined Medo-Persian empire.
During the next two years Cyrus divided Phoenicia into four vasal states, while his uncle Darius the Mede cared for the newly established empire with the help of Daniel.
END OF THE 70 YEARS PROPHECY FOR THE RELEASE OF MY PEOPLE.
A little later when I will be relating my wedding with king Xerxes (Ahasuerus) and mention a miracle that happened when I fasted and prayed over a life and death issue.
Daniel was waiting to experience one of the greatest prophecies concerning the release of my people from Babylonian rule. God saved his life all these years to witness another exodus like the first one when we were slaves in Egypt.
The prophecy predicted that Cyrus would be the one who would release my people from Babylonian slavery. Not only that. Listen what else Cyrus would be doing for my people:
Isaiah 45:13 I have raised him up in righteousness, And I will direct all his ways; He shall build My city And let My exiles go free, Not for price nor reward,” Says the LORD of hosts.
How would these poor exiled Jews ever be able to return to Jerusalem and pay for a four- or five-months expensive journey. When at times I think of the way God led my people I am astonished how he did this in the past.
I cannot wait to tell you how God used me, a simple Jewish girl to save my people.
Let’s read about Daniel’s prayer for deliverance and how God answered his sincere agonising prayer:
Daniel 9:1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, (or Astyages the other name) of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans.
I need to explain something about the name of Ahasuerus. Daniel could have used the Median name of Astyages because he carried both names.
Daniel could have used the name for Darius the Mede. What prevented him from doing it? Because a new empire was born, and king Cyaxares 2 the Mede, adopted a new throne name. Darius is a Persian name called Dārayavahush meaning “possessing goodness”, composed of the elements dâraya “to possess” and vahu “good”.
And he could have mentioned Astyages in stead of Ahasuerus for the father of Darius because he carries both names
As a Jewish person like myself who are accustomed to our history, can discuss something of what happened here with different names given to different leaders.
But there was another king, besides my husband Xerxes, who also carried two names. Cambyses, the son of Cyrus who also carried the name Ahaseurus. (Prince; head; chief)
After the death of Cambyses, my father-in-law, Darius 1 ascended the Medo-Persian throne. Like Cyaxares 11 changed his name to Darius the Mede, he also adopted a new throne name. Guess who this name would be?
Darius. Why? The name means “possessing goodness.” A second reason for choosing Darius was the fact that he was the very first ruler of the new Medo-Persian kingdom was called Darius the Mede. So all that my father-in-law, was to drop the word “Medes”.
My husband’s throne name was Ahasuerus which means Lion-King. Two kings before him, Astyages the Mede and Cambyses the son of Cyrus also adopted this as a second name. My father-in-law, called Darius Hystapes, decided to also call my husband Ahasuerus. This was besides his Greek name Xerxes.
When I read some of these names in the book of Daniel, I realised that he was an accurate brilliant and inspired author. I can recommend his work.
Let me continue reading from chapter 9 of his book:
Daniel 9:2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
Daniel realized that the end of the 70 year exile of our people had come and the prophecy should go into fulfilment.
So what did he do? Exactly what I did when my people faced extinction as will explain a little later.
In both cases prayer solved the problem. I, Esther wants to recommend prayer if you are facing dangerous situations. Prayer shows are utter helpless and shows God omnipotence.
Let’s continue listening to what Daniel wrote:
Daniel 9:3 Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. Dan 9:4 And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments,
Dan 9:5 we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Dan 9:6 Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land.
Dan 9:7 O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You.
Dan 9:8 “O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. Dan 9:9 To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. Dan 9:10 We have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets.
Dan 9:11 Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him.
Dan 9:12 And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem.
Dan 9:13 “As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth.
Dan 9:14 Therefore the LORD has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice. Dan 9:15 And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day—we have sinned, we have done wickedly!
When I read Daniel’s prayer and his confession, I could resonate. I realised that I was as guilty as the rest of my Jewish nation. But we serve a loving, forgiving and extremely kind God.
Listen to the rest of the prayer:
Dan 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. Dan 9:17 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.
Dan 9:18 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. Dan 9:19 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.”
When I read this heartfelt prayer of Daniel I could see tears rolling down from that old face. And God touched my heart as well and my tears start falling.
How long did God wait before He answered Daniel’s prayer?
Dan 9:20 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, Dan 9:21 yes, 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.
9:22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. 9:23 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:
You know when I, Esther the sinner read the words “greatly beloved” I was very excited. To think that God loves us even if we have departed from Him. This meant so much to me when I came back to God.
Now we come to the Seventy Weeks prophecy where I was involved. My son was Artaxerxes was personally involved in this event.
Dan 9:24 “Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.
Dan 9:25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.
Dan 9:26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself.
Do you realise what Daniel is telling us sinners about this cut off, His death, was not for Himself, but for us.
I never knew that the words “That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince,” was going to be issued by my son, Artaxerxes.
Dan 9:27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
I thought He turned His back on us sinful Jews. But here is the promise that God will make an end of sacrificing a lamb because He the Lamb of God will become our sacrifice.
We are first going to look at the message of Daniel 10. It has a special message not only to Persia, but to all future world powers.
Ezra made sure that the book of Esther finally finds a place among the other books of the old Testament.