Daniel 12:8

8. And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?

8. Et ego audivi, et non intellexi: et dixi, Domine mi, quod postremum horum? 1


Now Daniel begins to ask questions in accordance with the angel's example. He had first heard one angel inquiring of the other; he next summons up courage, and becomes desirous of information, and asks what should be the end or issue? He says, he heard without understanding. By the word "hearing," he bears witness to the absence of ignorance, slothfulness, or contempt. Many depart without any perception of a subject, although it may be very well explained, because they were not attentive to it. But here the Prophet asserts that he heard; implying, it would be no fault of his diligence if he did not understand, because he was desirous of learning, and had exerted all his powers, as we formerly intimated, and yet he confesses he did not understand. Daniel does not mean to profess utter stupidity, but restricts his ignorance to the subject of this interrogation. Of what then was Daniel ignorant? Of the final issue. He could not attain unto the meaning of these predictions, which were so extremely obscure, and this was needful to their full and thorough comprehension. It is quite clear that God never utters his word without expecting fruit; as it is said in Isaiah, I have not spoken unintelligibly, nor have I said to the seed of Jacob, seek ye me in vain. (Isaiah 45:19.) God was unwilling to leave his Prophet in this perplexity of hearing without understanding, but we are aware of distinct degrees of proficiency in the school of God. Again, sufficient revelation was notoriously conferred upon the prophets for the discharge of their office, and yet none of them ever perfectly understood the predictions they delivered. We know, too, what Peter says, They ministered more for our times than for their own. (1 Peter 1:12.) They were by no means useless to their own age, but when our age is compared with theirs, certainly the instruction and discipline of the prophets is more useful to us, and produces richer and riper fruit in our age than in theirs. We are not surprised, then, at Daniel confessing he did not understand, so long as we restrict the words to this single instance. It now follows: --

1 That is, what shall be the end of these things? -- Calvin.