Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
COMFORTED BY AN
The tenth through twelfth chapters more fully describe the vision in the
eighth chapter by a second vision on the same subject, just as the
vision in the seventh chapter explains more fully that in the second.
The tenth chapter is the prologue; the eleventh, the prophecy itself;
and the twelfth, the epilogue. The tenth chapter unfolds the spiritual
worlds as the background of the historical world
(Job 1:7; 2:1,
&c.; Zec 3:1, 2;
and angels as the ministers of God's government of men. As in the world
so in that of history here; Michael, the champion of Israel, and with
him another angel, whose aim is to realize God's will in the heathen
world, resist the God-opposed spirit of the world. These struggles are
not merely symbolical, but real
1. third year of Cyrus--two years after Cyrus' decree for the
restoration of the Jews had gone forth, in accordance with Daniel's
This vision gives not merely general outlines, or symbols, but minute
details of the future, in short, anticipative history. It is the
expansion of the vision in
That which then "none understood," he says here, "he understood"; the
messenger being sent to him for this
(Da 10:11, 14),
to make him understand it. Probably Daniel was no longer in office at
court; for in
it is said, "Daniel continued even unto the first year of King Cyrus";
not that he died then. See on
but the time appointed was long--rather, "it (that is, the prophecy)
referred to great calamity"
[MAURER]; or, "long and calamitous
warfare" [GESENIUS]. Literally, "host going to war"; hence, warfare,
2. mourning--that is, afflicting myself by fasting from
"pleasant bread, flesh and wine"
as a sign of sorrow, not for its own sake. Compare
"fast," answering to "mourn"
which prove that "fasting" is not an indispensable Christian
obligation; but merely an outward expression of sorrow, and separation
from ordinary worldly enjoyments, in order to give one's self to prayer
Daniel's mourning was probably for his countrymen, who met with many
obstructions to their building of the temple, from their adversaries in
the Persian court.
3. no pleasant bread--"unleavened bread, even the bread of affliction"
anoint--The Persians largely used unguents.
4. first month--Nisan, the month most suited for considering
Israel's calamity, being that in which the feast of unleavened bread
reminded them of their Egyptian bondage. Daniel mourned not merely for
the seven days appointed
from the evening of the fourteenth to the twenty-first of Nisan, but
thrice seven days, to mark extraordinary sorrow. His mourning
ended on the twenty-first day, the closing day of the passover feast;
but the vision is not till the twenty-fourth, because of the opposition
of "the prince of Persia"
I was by . . . the . . . river--in waking
reality, not a trance
when younger, he saw the future in images, but now when old, he
receives revelations from angels in common language, that is, in the
apocalyptic mode. In the patriarchal period God often appeared
visibly, that is, theophany. In the prophets, next in the
succession, the inward character of revelation is prominent. The
consummation is when the seer looks up from earth into the unseen
world, and has the future shown to him by angels, that is, apocalypse.
So in the New Testament there is a parallel progression: God in the
flesh, the spiritual activity of the apostles and the apocalypse
5. lifted up mine eyes--from the ground on which they had been fixed
in his mourning.
certain man--literally, "one man." An angel of the highest order;
he commands Gabriel to make Daniel to understand the vision, and in
one of the two angels inquires of him how long it would be till the end
linen--the raiment of priests, being the symbol of sanctity, as more
pure than wool
also of prophets
and of angels
girded with . . . gold--that is, with a girdle interwoven with gold
6. beryl--literally, "Tarshish," in Spain. The beryl, identical with
the chrysolite or topaz, was imported into the East from Tarshish, and
therefore is called "the Tarshish stone."
7. they fled--terrified by the presence of the presence of the angel.
8. comeliness--literally, "vigor," that is, lively expression and
into corruption--"deadliness," that is, death-like paleness
(Da 5:6; 7:28).
9. voice of his words--the sound of his words.
was I in a deep sleep--"I sank into a deep sleep"
10. an hand--namely, of Gabriel, who interpreted other revelations to
set me upon my knees--GESENIUS
translates, "cause me to reel on my
11. man . . . beloved--(See on
understand--"attend to." See
Da 8:17, 18.
12. Fear not--Be not affrighted at my presence.
didst set thine heart to understand--what shall come to pass to thy
people at the last times (compare
(Da 10:2, 3).
thy words were heard--
Prayer is heard at once in heaven, though the sensible answer may
seem to be delayed. God's messenger was detained on the way
by the opposition of the powers of darkness. If in our prayers amidst
long protracted sorrows we believed God's angel is on his way to us,
what consolation it would give us!
for thy words--because of thy prayers.
13. prince of . . . Persia--the angel of darkness that
represented the Persian world power, to which Israel was then subject.
This verse gives the reason why, though Daniel's "words were heard from
the first day"
the good angel did not come to him until more than three weeks had
one and twenty days--answering to the three weeks of Daniel's mourning
Michael--that is, "Who is like God?" Though an archangel, "one of the
chief princes," Michael was not to be compared to God.
help me--Michael, as patron of Israel before God
(Da 10:21; 12:1),
"helped" to influence the Persian king to permit the Jews' return to
I remained--I was detained there with the kings of Persia, that
is, with the angel of the Persian rulers, with whom I had to contend,
and from whom I should not have got free, but for the help of Michael.
GESENIUS translates, "I obtained the ascendency," that is, I gained my
point against the adverse angel of Persia, so as to influence the
Persian authorities to favor Israel's restoration.
14. what shall befall thy people in the latter days--an intimation that
the prophecy, besides describing the doings of Antiochus, reaches to the
concluding calamities of Israel's history, prior to the nation's full
restoration at Christ's coming--calamities of which Antiochus'
persecutions were the type.
vision is for many days--that is, extends far into the future.
15. face toward the ground--in humble reverence
dumb--with overwhelming awe.
16. touched my lips--the same significant action wherewith the Son
of man accompanied His healing of the dumb
He alone can give spiritual utterance
(Isa 6:6, 7;
enabling one to "open the mouth boldly." The same one who makes dumb
opens the mouth.
sorrows--literally, "writhings" as of a woman in travail.
17. this . . . this my lord--to avoid the tautology in
English Version, join rather "this," with "servant," "How can
this servant of my lord (that is, how can I who am so feeble) talk
with this my lord (who is so majestic)?" Thus Daniel gives the reason
why he is so overwhelmed with awe [MAURER].
18. again . . . touched me--It was gradually that Daniel recovered
his strength. Hence there was need of the second touch, that he might
hear the angel with composure.
19. peace be unto thee--God is favorable to thee and to thy people
Jud 13:21, 22,
as to the fear of some evil resulting from a vision of angels.
20. Knowest thou wherefore--The angel asks, after Daniel had
recovered from his fright, whether he has understood what was revealed
On Daniel, by his silence, intimating that he did understand, the angel
declares he will return to renew the fight with the evil angel, the
prince of Persia. This points to new difficulties to the Jews'
restoration which would arise in the Persian court, but which would be
counteracted by God, through the ministry of angels.
prince of Grecia shall come--Alexander the Great, who conquered Persia,
and favored the Jews
[CALVIN]. Rather, as the prince of Persia is an
angel, representing the hostile world power, so the prince of Grecia is
a fresh angelic adversary, representing Greece. When I am gone forth
from conquering the Persian foe, a fresh one starts up, namely, the
world power that succeeds Persia, Greece; Antiochus Epiphanes, and his
antitype Antichrist, but him, too, with the help of Michael, Israel's
champion, I shall overcome [GEJER].
21. noted in the scripture of truth--in the secret book of God's
which are truth, that is, the things which shall most surely come to
pass, being determined by God (compare
none . . . but Michael--To him alone of the angels the office of
protecting Israel, in concert with the angelic speaker, was delegated;
all the world powers were against Israel.