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10. Daniel's Vision of a Man

In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision. 2In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. 3I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. 4And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel; 5Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: 6His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. 7And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. 8Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. 9Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.

10And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. 11And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. 12Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. 13But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. 14Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days. 15And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb. 16And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength. 17For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. 18Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, 19And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me. 20Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. 21But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.

He first explains how he recovered his spirits at the angel’s exhortation; for he refers to this encouragement as a command to be of good courage. Fear not, therefore, O man of desires The angel here addresses Daniel soothingly, to calm his fears, for he needed some enticement when oppressed with fear at both the words and aspect of the angel. This is the reason why he calls him a man to be desired He adds, peace to thee, a customary salutation with the Hebrews, who mean by the phrase the same as the Latin expression, May it be well with thee. Peace, as the Jews used it, means a state of prosperity, happiness, and quiet, and everything of this kind. Peace, therefore, to thee, meaning, May you prosper. By this word the angel declares his arrival in the Prophet’s favor to bear witness to God’s merciful feelings towards the Israelites, and to the reception of his own prayers. We ought diligently to notice this, because, as I have already remarked, whenever God puts forth any sign of his majesty, we necessarily become frightened. No other remedy is equal to the favor of God fully manifested towards us, and his testimony to his drawing near us as a father. The angel expresses this feeling by the phrase which he uses, shewing with what justice Daniel fell down lifeless through reverence for God’s presence, and the necessity for his being calm and collected when he knew himself sent forth to bear witness to God’s favor. Peace, therefore, to thee. He next adds, be strong, be strong By this repetition, the angel teaches how strong an effort was required to arouse the Prophet; if he had been but slightly terrified, one word would have been enough to recover him. But as he was carried beyond himself, and all his senses had failed him, the angel inculcates twice the same exhortation to be strong. Be strong, then, be strong; that is, recover your spirits; and if this cannot be done in a moment, persevere in recovering that alacrity which may render you a fitting disciple; for, while you thus remain astonished, I should address you in vain. There are two reasons why we must notice the Prophet’s informing us again how dejected he was. First, it proves how free from ambiguity this revelation really was, and how clearly it was stamped with marks of genuineness. Secondly, we must learn how formidable God’s presence is to us, unless we are persuaded of the exercise of his paternal love towards us. Lastly, we must observe how, when once we are struck down, we cannot immediately and completely recover our spirits, but we must be satisfied if God gradually and successively inspires us with renewed strength.

Daniel afterwards says, he was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak, for thou hast made me strong By these words he indicates his peace of mind after the angel had roused him by touching him twice, and by giving him courage by means of his exhortation. It is very useful to us to take due notice of this mental tranquillity, because the Prophet ought first to become a diligent scholar to enable him afterwards to discharge for us the office of a faithful teacher. With the greatest propriety, he repeats his assertion about the recovery of his strength, which enabled him to address the angel with facility. It now follows: —


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