Daniel 9:4-19 is one of the important penitential prayers in the Old Testament.
This prayer has been investigated from different perspectives, but the theological
dimension of forgiveness is often neglected. In this article the understanding of
divine forgiveness is studied and the following important elements are emphasised:
(1) Forgiveness cannot be limited to one specific historical context; (2) The motivation
for forgiveness does not lie in the people’s obedience, but in God’s grace and
mercy; (3) The structure and content of the prayer implies that confession of guilt
is an important element in the process of forgiveness. Everyone is guilty — the guilt
is not placed on a certain person or king (cf. v. 7); (4) Forgiveness is meant for the
“international” Israel and not limited to a specific geographical area.