Daniel 9:1-5
Daniel 9:1
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;
Daniel was now approximately 82 years old when he had this vision.  The first year of Darius the Mede was about 539-538 B.C.  Cyrus the Persian captured Babylon in 539 B.C. and had made Darius a sub-king over Babylon.  This Ahasuerus is not the same one found in the book of Esther.  His name is Cyaxares as given by Greek historians.
Daniel 9:2
In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
Daniel had the writings of Jeremiah and being the Bible student that he was, he knew that the 70 year captivity of Judah was a definite thing.  In Jeremiah’s time false prophets were slain because they kept falsely prophesying that the duration would only be two years.  There were three sieges of Judah.  There was 605 B.C. when Daniel was taken.  There was 597 and 586 B.C.  Many have wondered when the 70 year clock would start.  I would venture to say that the 70 years would commence at the final siege in 586 B.C. because that is when the remaining Jews from Judah were taken and would endure the full 70 years.
Daniel 9:3
And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
Daniel now begins to seek the Lord in a major prayer of confession concerning the situation that caused the 70 year captivity of Judah.  Daniel did not approach this prayer lightly because he was fasting and put on sackcloth and ashes.  It was an outward example of Daniel’s inward contrition.
Daniel 9:4
And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
When one looks at the life of Daniel, one wonders what he had to confess in such a serious and somber way.  He calls God the great and dreadful God.  Great carries with it the meaning of “high, noble, and mighty.”  The word “dreadful” may also be understood as “fearful and terrible in an awesome sense.”  He then extols the virtue of God as one who keeps His covenant and extends mercy to those that love Him plus keeping His commandments.  Daniel is still under the covenant of the law.
Daniel 9:5
We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:
Notice Daniel uses the word “we.”  He identifies himself as one who has sinned also.  He did not say “they have sinned” but identifies himself with the others.  They have done wickedly and committed iniquity.  They had attached themselves to idols and false religions and treated the Temple with contempt.  They departed from His precepts and judgments.  This means they set aside the word of God and did not pay attention to its teachings and even when God judged them for their sins, they rebelled against those judgments and continued right on in their rebellion.  It was in Babylon where they started the Babylonian Talmud which had the teachings of the Rabbis but was void of the word of God.  The church has done the same thing today.  They have put aside the word of God for their own opinions and have elevated experience higher than the word of God.  They have placed the word of man higher than the word of God.  The word of man are those of pastors, theologians, and media preachers which now supersede the Bible.