Da 10:1-21. Daniel
Comforted by an Angelic Vision.
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;
Re 12:7), and angels as the
ministers of God's government of men. As in the world of nature (Joh 5:4;
Re 7:1-3), 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 (1Sa 16:13-15; 1Ki 22:22; Eph
1. third year of Cyrus—two years after
Cyrus' decree for the restoration of the Jews had gone forth, in
accordance with Daniel's prayer in Da 9:3-19. 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 Da 8:1-14. That which then "none understood," he
says here, "he understood"; the messenger being sent to him for this
10:11, 14), to make him
understand it. Probably Daniel was no longer in office at court; for in
Da 1:21, it is said, "Daniel continued
even unto the first year of King Cyrus"; not that he died then.
See on Da 1:21.
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, calamity.
2. mourning—that is, afflicting myself
by fasting from "pleasant bread, flesh and wine" (Da 10:3), as a sign of sorrow, not for its own
sake. Compare Mt 9:14,
"fast," answering to "mourn" (Da 10:15). Compare 1Co 8:8; 1Ti 4:3, 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 (Ac 13:2).
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" (De 16:3).
anoint—The Persians largely used
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 (Ex 12:18), 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 (Da 10:7); 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 [Auberlen].
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; for in Da 8:16 he commands Gabriel to make Daniel to
understand the vision, and in Da 12:6 one of the two angels inquires of him
how long it would be till the end predicted.
linen—the raiment of priests, being
the symbol of sanctity, as more pure than wool (Ex 28:42); also of prophets (Jer 13:1); and of angels (Re 15:6).
girded with … gold—that is, with
a girdle interwoven with gold (Re 1:13).
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
7. they fled—terrified by the presence
of the presence of the angel.
8. comeliness—literally, "vigor," that
is, lively expression and color.
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" [Lengkerke].
10. an hand—namely, of Gabriel, who
interpreted other revelations to Daniel (Da 8:16) [Theodoret].
set me upon my knees—Gesenius translates, "cause me to reel on my knees,"
11. man … beloved—(See on Da 9:23).
understand—"attend to." See Da 8:17,
12. Fear not—Be not affrighted at my
didst set thine heart to
understand—what shall come to pass to thy people at the last
times (compare Da 10:14).
chasten thyself—(Da 10:2, 3).
thy words were heard—(Ac 10:4). Prayer is heard at once in heaven,
though the sensible answer may seem to be delayed. God's
messenger was detained on the way (Da 10:13) 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
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" (Da 10:12), the good angel did not come to him
until more than three weeks had elapsed (Da 10:4).
one and twenty days—answering to the
three weeks of Daniel's mourning (Da 10:2).
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 Jerusalem.
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
vision is for many days—that is,
extends far into the future.
15. face toward the ground—in humble
reverence (Ge 19:1).
dumb—with overwhelming awe.
16. touched my lips—the same significant
action wherewith the Son of man accompanied His healing of the dumb
7:33). He alone can give
spiritual utterance (Isa 6:6, 7; Eph 6:19), enabling one to "open the mouth
boldly." The same one who makes dumb (Da 10:15) 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 Israel. See 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 (Da 10:13). 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
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 decrees (Ps 139:16; Re 5:1), 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