Daniel 10

 

 

THE ANGELS OF THE NATIONS (vs. 1-21)

 

The three chapters (10, 11., and 12.) form a section apart from the rest of

Daniel. One marked peculiarity is the long and very old interpolation which

occupies nearly the whole of ch. 11. Not improbably something has

dropped out, and. not a few things have been modified in consequence of

this interpolation.

 

1 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.”  The Septuagint

rendering is, “In the first year of Cyrus King of the Persians.” This is at

variance with all other versions. As, however, these other versions are

derived from the Palestinian recension, they unitedly do not much more

than counterbalance the Septuagint, “A decree (πρόσταγμα - prostagma) was

revealed to Daniel who was called Beltasar, and the vision is true and the decree.”

This is a case of doublet. Evidently some Egyptian manuscripts read ˆwOzj;

(hazon) instead of rb;D;j" (haddabar), and this, or the rendering of it, has

slipped into the text from the margin. “And a strong multitude understood

the decree.” The translator here has had ˆyby, not ˆybw, before him. Aquila

has the same reading; here ab;x; (tzaba) is taken in its usual sense of

host,” “And I understood it in vision.” Here the Septuagint has yli instead of

wOl. From the fact that the first person appears in the next verse, there is at

least a probability in favor of this reading. Theodotion is, as usual, closer

to the Massoretic. ab;x; is rendered δύναμις dunamis - warfare. The text before him

has had ˆybWh, the hophal, instead of ˆybw, which is possibly the kal. The Peshitta

seems to have used a text practically identical with that of the Massoretes;

tile same is true of the Vulgate. The Peshitta renders ab;x; by heel, and the

Vulgate by fortitudo. In the third year of Cyrus. The various reading of the

Septuagint is of value. It is not to be dismissed as due to a desire to

harmonize this date with that in ch. 1:21, for the numeral “third”

might easily be an accidental mistake present in some few Palestinian

manuscripts due to the beginning of the eighth chapter. The first chapter,

as we have seen, has many traces that it is at once an epitome and a

compilation. It is evident that the writer in the first chapter would have the

rest of the book before him, and would mean to harmonize his statements

with that of the chapter before us. It seems difficult to imagine that the

compiler of the first chapter could have this statement before him, and yet

write as he did. We should therefore be inclined to leave the question

doubtful. Even if it should be admitted that the Massoretic date is correct,

as we have already seen, the difficulties created are by no means

insuperable. Hitzig has made it a difficulty that Daniel did not avail himself

of the permission to return to his own country, granted by Cyrus. Professor

Bevan says, “For those who believe Daniel to be an ideal figure, no

explanation is necessary.” In that assertion he is mistaken. If Daniel were

presented as an ideal Jew, why does he not conform to the ideal of

Judaism? The statement that Daniel was a man of nearly ninety years of age

at the date of Cyruss proclamation is a sufficient answer to this difficulty.

Hitzig thinks he rebuts this answer of Havernick’s by referring to the old

men (Ezra 3:12) who remembered the former temple; but these might

have been children of ten or twelve when they were carried away captive

eighteen years after Daniel, and thus might not be more than sixty when

Cyrus’s decree came. Further, we know that only a very limited number of

Jews returned, and that so many of the best of the Jews remained that it

was declared that the chaff came to Jerusalem, but that the finest of the

wheat remained in Babylon. A thing was revealed unto Daniel whose name

was called Belteshazzar. “Thing” is the general term dabar, which means

sometimes “decree,” sometimes “word,” or sometimes, as rendered by the

Authorized, “ thing.”  This is to be taken as the title of the rest of the remaining

sections. The recurrence of the Babylonian name “Belteshazzar” may be due to the

recency of the overthrow of the Babylonian monarchy. And the thing was true,

but the time appointed was long.  An editor might have added this clause, a man

might well be certain of the truth of a thing he had got from God; he might wish to

impress this upon his hearers. The last clause here is certainly mistranslated

in the Authorized. The time appointed was long. ab;x;(tzaba) never means

“appointed time,” although it is twice translated so in Job, as here; but in

all these cases with greater accuracy render “warfare.” With this sense is to

be compared the use we find in Numbers 15:23-41, where the Levites’

service in the sanctuary is called ab;x; (tzaba). If we are to keep to the

Massoretic reading, then the rendering of the Revised is really the only one

to be thought of.   Some regard this word as meaning “difficulty,” “oppression.”

Something may, however, be said for the Septuagint rendering, all the more that

it was adopted by Aquila. According to these renderings, we conjoin these words,

great hosts, lwdg; ab;x;, with the next, which they understand read as third

person singular imperfect kal, or omit the conjunction, “And a great

multitude understood the decree.” “The host” in this interpretation would

here naturally mean “the host of heaven.” We find that throughout this

chapter, and in the twelfth, we have to do with the angels, so it is natural

that in this title and summary of what is to follow the fact that the great

host of heaven understood this mystery should be stated.  And he understood

 the thing, and had understanding of the vision. This is a fairly correct rendering

of the Hebrew. Von Lengerke would make the verbs imperative, which certainly

they might be, so far as form goes, but the intrusion of imperatives here

into the title of a section seems violent. The main difficulty, moreover, is

not touched. As they stand, these two clauses assert the same thing, and if

with Von Lengerke we make them both imperatives, we have the difficulty

still present with us. It may be a case of “doublet.” This is an hypothesis we

scarcely would adopt except in necessity, since the Septuagint has both

clauses. Theodotion, however, has only one of them. We feel ourselves

inclined to follow the reading of the Septuagint. The angels understood the

matter, and he — Daniel — understood it also by the vision.

 

2  “In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.” The

versions are close to the Massoretic, only the Septuagint, and, following it,

the Vetus, as quoted by Tertullian, omit “days,” in the literal rendering of

the Hebrew phrase, “weeks of days”. Mourning. Zockler and Fuller think

this mourning due to the difficulties the released captives had in carrying

out their desire of rebuilding the temple. It may have been that he was

grieved that so few of the people were willing to avail themselves of the

privilege. We are here assuming that the chronology of this passage

reckons from the overthrow of Nabunahid, that is, from Cyrus’s accession

to the throne of Babylon; but, as we have seen, this “third year” may be

reckoned from his assumption of the title King of Persia, San Parsua, in

which case it may be the same year with that vision narrated in the previous

chapter. Three full weeks; literally, three weeks of days — to mark off the

duration of Daniel’s fast from the weeks of years referred to in the ninth

chapter. Keil objects to this interpretation, but assigns no reason. At the

same time, it is to be observed that “year of days” means a full year, but a

week is such a short period that the necessity of saying that it was

complete by defining it a “week of days” is not so obvious, and is

unexampled.

 

3 “I 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.”  The versions are in perfect agreement with the Massoretic text.

Pleasant bread; “bread of desires” is the rendering of the Septuagint and of

Theodotion; the word is the same in Hebrew and Greek as that applied to

Daniel. Neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth. This shows that the

practice adopted by Daniel and his fellows during their training was not

regarded by Daniel, at least as incumbent on him after he could regulate his

own affairs. His ordinary habit was to eat flesh and to drink wine; but

during these weeks of fast, he denied himself these dainties. Neither did I

anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. The pleasure of

anointing the body with oil was highly esteemed among the ancients. It is

impossible to fail to recognize, in this passage, the origin of the Essenian

discipline. The Essenes abstained, from flesh, from wine, and from

anointing themselves. Daniel thus abstained, as a sign of sorrow for the sin

of his people; they made this fast a perpetual discipline. They waited for the

salvation of Israel, and endeavored, by fasting, to hasten the coming of

the Lord.

 

 

Fasting (vs. 2-3)

 

The exercise of fasting seems to grow out of natural spiritual instincts, as it

is found in nearly all religions, and is not forbidden but recognized and

regulated in the teaching of Christ and His apostles (Luke 5:35;

Acts 13:2-3; 14:23). It is, however, an exercise which is surrounded

with erroneous ideas, and which needs to be cleared of them before it can

be admitted as healthy and profitable. Let us notice;

 

  • SOME ABUSES OF THE EXERCISE OF FASTING.

 

Ø      Ostentatious fasting. Such was the vulgar fasting of the Pharisees

Ostentation in regard to an expression of deep spiritual feelings tends

to destroy those very feelings. The study of “effect” and anxiety about

the good opinion of men directly counteracts the influence of those

emotions of spiritual grief and shame before God which fasting is

supposed to express. Thus ostentatious lasting becomes hypocritical

(Matthew 6:16).

 

Ø      Formal fasting. Fasting which implies no real self-denial, though

certain rules of abstinence are observed, is a mockery, and, if it is

relied on for religious efficacy, a superstitious rite. It is then only

a bodily exercise, and can have no spiritual force (I Timothy 4:8).

 

Ø      Meritorious fasting.

 

o       If we are to depend on God’s mercy, it is foolish to think

that we can win this by any meritorious actions.

 

o       Even if we could merit anything from God, it would be by

useful service, not by merely putting ourselves to inconvenience.

There is no merit in self-denial for its own sake. We cannot

please God by simply displeasing ourselves. Any idea of the

kind is a relic of the terror-worship of cruel deities.

 

o       Holiness in fasting. There is a foolish conceit with some people

that fasting is more holy than natural living. But Christ teaches

us that nature is holy and that joy is holy. Holiness does not

imply abstinence, but purity and temperance.

 

  • THE RIGHT EXERCISE OF FASTING.

 

Ø      Involuntary fasting. Strong emotion destroys natural bodily appetite.

Sorrow, especially, has this purely physical effect. Thus fasting is

often a natural result of certain religious emotions. There is a sense of

harmony which makes lawful worldly pleasures distasteful at a season

of spiritual darkness. At such times fasting is exercised by instinct.

Daniel was in sorrow; therefore he fasted.

 

Ø      Fasting to assist repentance. This is not undertaken to win merit with

God, but simply for its effect on our own souls. The feeling of repentance

is often too ephemeral. It is soon counteracted by the influx of other

influences from the world without. Yet there are times when a man

becomes convinced of some great sin. He may then find his compunction

deepened and his repentance strengthened if for a season he abstains

from lawful bodily comforts.

 

Ø      Fasting to assist spiritual thought. This cannot be enforced as a duty

nor recommended for universal practice. But experience teaches that there

are persons whose spiritual perceptions are quickened while their bodily

nature is restrained. For all of us the full indulgence of appetite — even

when this does not lead to what is called excess — deadens the spiritual

energies.

 

Ø      Mental fasting. It is sometimes well to abstain from active thinking,

from the assertion of our own inclinations and reasonings, and to become

passive recipients of truth, as it is borne in to the mind by the influences

of nature and the active communings of the Divine Spirit (Zechariah 2:13).

 

4 “And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I

was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel.”  The Septuagint differs

from this only in rendering Hiddekel by its Greek name Tigris.”

Theodotion subjoins to Tigris Eddekel, on the same principle that we have

on the margin of our Bibles different renderings from those in the text. The

Peshitta makes the river the Euphrates. The Vulgate follows the

Septuagint. There seems no reasonable doubt that Behrmann is right in

regarding the Phrat of the Syriac as a gloss. It certainly was a natural

suggestion, that, as Babylon was on the Euphrates, Daniel should rather be

found walking there at the termination of his fast, than forty or fifty miles

off. The four and twentieth day of the first month; that is, the month Nisan

or Abib — the month in which the Passover was celebrated in every Jewish

home. It would seem that Daniel did not join in this festival at this time. It

is noted that, from the days of Saul, the two first days of every month were

devoted to a feast, and hence, that Daniel’s fast could only begin on the

third day. Since he must have refrained from partaking of the Paschal lamb,

we cannot deduce that he might not occupy the opening days of the month

with sadness rather than feasting. If Daniel is an ideal figure, intended to

represent the model Jew resident in a foreign land, why is he thus

represented as not partaking of the Paschal feast? It is true that, with the

temple in ruins, the Paschal lamb could not be slain in the way enjoined in

the Law; but the modern Jew keeps the Passover without the lamb. I was

by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel. The name is a

transference of the Assyrian name Iddiklat. It would seem that Daniel was

then on the banks of the Tigris, not in vision, but in actual person, as here

there is no reference, as in ch. 8:2, to his being there in vision; the

mention of attendants also renders it unlikely that it was only in vision that

Daniel was on the banks of the Tigris. His purpose in being there was

probably governmental, as he had attendants with him.

 

5 “Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a

certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of

Uphas:   6 His 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 color to polished brass, and the voice of his words

like the voice of a multitude.” The version given by the Septuagint exhibits

traces of confluence, “And it was [apparently reading yhiYiw"(vayyehee)] on

the four and twentieth day of the first month, I was upon the bank of the

great river Tigris, and I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and behold a man

clothed in (βύσσινα bussina - fine linen), and girt about the loins with                 

(βυσσίνῳ - bussino - fine linen), and from his middle there was light, and his

month was as the sea, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as

lamps of fire, his arms and feet as gleaming brass, and the (φωνὴ -phonae

voice)of his speech as the voice of a multitude.” It would seem that the translator

had μyDiB" twice; that might be due to blunder, or may be a case of doublet —

a phenomenon so frequent. The difficult word Uphaz, which only occurs

elsewhere in Jeremiah 10:9, is omitted; “from his middle there was

light” is probably an effort to render this clause, which the translator seems

to have read mithoq ‘or. Possibly the mysterious clause, “and his mouth

was like the sea,” may be another attempt to render these unaccustomed

words. Theodotion merely transliterates μydb into βαδδιν baddinlinen;

a word for the material of which the garments of the high priest were made, and

vyvir]t" into  θαρσιςtharsis - beryl, and regards Uphaz as a garment, which,

in the case before us, was (χρυσίῳ - chrusio golden).  In the Syriac of the Peshitta,

the translator escapes the difficulty of baddeem by rendering it “glory.” The next

clause is also paraphrastic, “the girdle of his loins (back) was of splendid

magnificence:” this last is his rendering of Uphaz. The next verse does not

call for remark. Jerome, in the Vulgate, renders tarsheesh as chrysolithus

— an interpretation very generally followed now. In the Massoretic text,

the use of the numeral “one,” almost as our indefinite article, has to be

noted. Baddeem is the plural of a word used mainly for the material of

which the garments of the priests were made; it occurs also in the vision of

Ezekiel. The singularity is that in Ezekiel, as in Daniel, the word is always

plural whereas in the rest of Scripture it is always singular. Uphaz occurs,

as above mentioned, only in Jeremiah 10:9; it is by some supposed to

be a variation on Ophir. As here, it is connected in Jeremiah with Tarshish.

Fiirst suggests paz, “fine gold” (Job 28:17), and Wa yai. “coast or

island,” thus making it equivalent to “Gold Coast.” Kethem, “fine gold,” is

associated in Isaiah 13:12 with “Ophir,” as here with” Uphaz;” this

might hint at the identity of the two places. That, however, is an uncertain

basis. The fact that Tarshish and Uphaz are brought together, would

indicate that, like Tarshish, it was in Spain. Kneucker, in Schenkel’s

Bibellexikon,’ decides for Hy-phasis, South Arabia, on the uncertain

ground of the sound of the name. Bochart would place it in Ceylon,

because Ptolemy mentions a harbor and river of the name of Phasis.

Tarshish is the Tartessus of the Greeks and the modern Tharsis; here the

chrysolite or topaz, as brought from thence. Margelothayo, “his feet,” is

the most common rendering; but von Lengerke would render, “the place

where his feet rested” — a rendering which, while it suits the form of the

word, does not suit the context. It occurs four times in Ruth in one

connection, and not elsewhere, save here. “Like in color to polished

brass” is a phrase which occurs in Ezekiel 1:7. Professor Bevan says,

“What meaning the author attached to ll;q;(qalal),’ polished,’ it is

impossible to say.” All the versions render” gleaming,” in both passages;

there seems no need to suggest a corruption of the text. The vision here

has a great resemblance, though with many pointsof contrast, to

Ezekiel 1:4-25; 8:2; 9:2; 10:1-22. Many passages in the Apocalypse

show traces of its influence: thus Revelation 1:14-15, the appearance

of our Lord; also Revelation 10:1-3. The vision in Ezekiel 1. is a

theophany; this, however, is not the appearance of a direct symbol of God,

but the appearance of one of His angels. The whole aspect is one of terror

and splendor. It has been noted that the yellow gleam of the topaz suits

well the tint of the Oriental complexion. When we compare this with

Ezekiel’s vision, we find a reticence in Ezekiel’s description; he does not

affirm (Ezekiel 1:27) that it is a man he sees, but only one in human

likeness. Whereas Daniel distinctly says that it was a man. In the case of

Ezekiel, it was a theophany which he saw; it was an angelophany which

appeared to Daniel. “The voice of a multitude” refers to the sound of the

shout of a multitude; the effect it produces is not merely the volume of

sound, but the difference of tones and the difference of moment of

utterance give a sense of vastness and multitudinousness, always

impressive, and indeed awe-inspiring.

 

7 “And 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.”  The Septuagint in the main agrees with

this, but seems to have read lemahar, “in haste,” instead of behayhabay.

Theodotion renders the last word, φόβῳ - phoboflight; fear; fright -implying

that he read behaga.  The reading of the Massoretic is superior, as being less

expected. The Peshitta renders in accordance with Theodotion. Jerome agrees

very exactly with the Massoretic text. And I Daniel alone saw the vision

(compare Acts 9:7; 22:9). The Apostle Paul was solitary in hearing intelligible

words and seeing Christ; his attendants saw the bright light and heard a

voice, but neither saw the speaker nor were able to distinguish the purport

of the words. For the men that were with me saw not the vision. Who

those were that were with Daniel we cannot tell; probably they were the

ordinary attendants of an officer of rank in the court of the great king.

But a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves

(compare Exodus 20:18; Genesis 3:8 [compare Revelation 6:14-17 at

the end of the world! – CY – 2014). Another parallel is Job 4:12-16.

Eliphaz there describes a spirit passing before him, although invisible; yet

in the horror of contact with the spiritual, all his bones shook and the hair

of his flesh stood up. There is a difference to be noted here between the

conduct of the attendants of Daniel and those of the Apostle Paul. As we

read here, the attendants of Daniel flee to hide themselves, those of the

apostle are first struck to the earth and then stand stupefied.

 

8 “Therefore 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.” The versions do not call

for much remark. The Septuagint renders “glory” by “spirit” or “breath;” and

the Peshitta renders it by “body.” The Massoretic is superior, as more

difficult and more likely to be the source of the other two than either of

them. Theodotion’s rendering, δόξα doxawholesomeness -  confirms this.

Daniel explains how he alone had seen the vision, and narrates the effects

contact with the spiritual had on him, “There remained no strength in me;…

And I retained no strength” — a redoubled statement of weakness

probably due merely to the great impression this sudden powerlessness

made on him. For my comeliness was turned in me into corruption. From

the natural brightness of the skin in life the face assumed the yellow pallor

of death (compare ch. 7:28). “And my countenance was changed in

me;” compare also Habakkuk 3:16, “When I heard, my belly trembled; my

lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones.” While the

ideas here are the same, the parallelism is made more striking by the

difference of the terms.

 

9 “Yet 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.”  The Septuagint rendering here is briefer than the

Massoretic, “And I heard the sound of his speech (λαλιᾶς - lalias - talking), and                

I was fallen upon my face upon the earth.” The Septuagint translator seems

to have read yTil]p"n](nephalti) instead of μd"r]ni (nirdam). Theodotion is

somewhat nearer the Massoretic text, but renders nirdam by “stupefied.”

The Pesifitta is an accurate rendering of the text behind the Septuagint.

Jerome agrees with Theodotion, rendering nirdam by consternatus; he

strengthens the phrase, “my face toward the ground,” by inserting

haerebat. It would seem that nirdam is of doubtful authenticity. It may be

said this was omitted because of the difficulty of imagining the prophet

seeing while in a deep sleep. But a state of sleep does not preclude the

possibility of seeing a vision. In the parallel passage (ch. 8:18) the

Septuagint has no difficulty in translating, yTim]d"r]ni, ἐκοιμήθην -

- ekoimaethaen – deep sleep.  By assuming the reading of the Septuagint and

the Peshitta to be correct, we make the process of events more natural; according

to the Massoretic reading, though we have an account of his sense of weakness,

we have no record that he fell to the ground, and yet we are told that he was

“in a deep sleep, with his face toward the ground” The resemblance is very

great to Job 4:12-13, “A thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received

a little thereof in thoughts from the vision of the night, when sleep falleth on men

(hm;der]T", tardaymah).” If there has been imitation, the originality and

beauty of the passage in Job render it certain that it is the original. It seems

more likely to be a change introduced to bring the revelation to Daniel in

line with other prophetic revelations. The attitude Daniel assumed was one

which implied the deepest abasement — the envoy of the great king kisses

the ground at the feet of the envoy of the King of kings. Even the

revelation given while sleep had fallen on the subject of the revelation,

seems paralleled with what took place at the Transfiguration (Luke

9:32, “And Peter and those that were with him were heavy with sleep,” yet

it was when they were awaked that they saw the glory). So with

Gethsemane. The Hebrew word is the same as that used when Eve was

taken out of the side of Adam; he then was asleep — a deep sleep had fallen

on him, hm;der]T"(tardaymah).” (For further illustrations, see Ezekiel

1:28; 3:23; Zechariah 4:1; Revelation 1:17.)

 

10 “And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my

knees and upon the palms of my hands.” The Septuagint agrees with this, but

does not bring out any more than this the pregnant sense of the Hebrew.

This is given in the margin of the Revised, “Set me tottering on my knees,”

etc. Strangely enough, the Septuagint renders, “soles of my feet “ — an

impossible attitude; that this is the true reading of the Septuagint, is confirmed

by Paulus Telleusis. Theodotion omits “the palms of the hands.” The

Peshitta renders as the Septuagint.  The Vulgate renders twOpK" by articulos,

“joints.” An hand touched me. The hand of him that appeared to him —

though Daniel does not say. It is needless to multiply angelic agencies. A

discussion has been raised on the question whether this is Gabriel who

appeared to Daniel in the eighth chapter, or Michael, or the angel of the

presence. It is not a matter of importance, but Michael is excluded by

v. 13, and also, to our thinking, “the angel of the presence,” if by that title the

Second Person of the Trinity is indicated. Which set me upon my knees and

upon the palms of my hands. Although the touch communicated to Daniel

some strength, yet he was unable to raise himself so as to look up — his

face was still to the ground, his attitude was still one of abasement, and he

was trembling.

 

11 “And 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.”  The versions do not afford cause for remark. O Daniel,

a man greatly beloved. This is the same term as that applied to Daniel

(ch. 9:23), “man of desires” (which see). Understand the words that

I speak unto thee; “have understanding in the words,” or better, “matters,

which I am speaking or telling to thee.” As the language used was one

intelligible to Daniel, it was needless to command him to understand the

words, but the “matters” communicated by the words might require a

special effort of attention to comprehend. Debareem means “matters” as

well as “words.” And stand upright; “‘stand upon thy standing.” Gesenius

would render this word when it occurs before (ch. 8:18), “place;”

but both here and there the contrast is in the attitude. From being

absolutely prone, as in the eighth chapter, or on hands and knees as here,

he is to be upright, and, taking his previous attitude into account, this is

not merely to stand where he is, and neither approach nor depart. The

Septuagint renders, τόπου - topouplace; spot ; Theodotion, stasei - στάσει

stand upright - ;the Vulgate has gradu. For unto thee am I now sent. This assigns

a reason for the command to stand upon his feet. In the Assyrian marbles, however

lowly the obeisance made to the monarch by any one admitted to his presence, he

stands when he receives the monarch’s commands. Standing implies attention.

And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. He obeyed the

command, but still trembling took hold of him in the angelic presence.

 

12 “Then 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.”  Both the Septuagint and Theodotion insert κυρίου - kuriouLord

before θεοῦ - theou – God.  This is the more remarkable as κυρίος

 kurios –

Lord - stands for “Jehovah” usually in the Greek versions — a title rarely

occurring in Daniel in, and only in, the prayer of the preceding chapter.

This addition does not occur in the Peshitta or Vulgate. He said unto me,

Fear not, Daniel. Still the signs of terror were manifest in Daniel, and the angel

spoke encouragingly to him. For from the first day, etc. When Daniel had begun

his petition to God and his effort to understand God’s purpose concerning His

people, then God had commissioned Gabriel. The whole process of humiliation,

fasting, and prayer was allowed to go on to its completion before Gabriel came, in

order to deepen in Daniel the desire for the hoped-for revelation, and thus

enhance the joy of it when it came, and, perchance, also to justify to higher

intelligences the giving of this special communication (compare ch. 9:20)

as to the answer being ready even while the petition was being put

up. And I am come for thy words. This an additional tenderness that

the Divine counsel Gabriel was commissioned to give, but was hindered

for reasons assigned in the next verse.

13 “But 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.”  The rendering

of the Septuagint. is, “And the (στρατηγὸςstrataegos - general) of the King

of the Persians withstood me one and twenty days, and behold Michael, one of

the first princes, came to help me, and I left him there with the general of the King

of the Persians.” The sense of Theedotion is nearly the same as the Septuagint ,

only he has βασιλείας  – basileias – kingdom -  instead of βασιλέως – basileos –

kingdom. Like the Septuagint, Theodotion declares that Michael was left with

the Prince of Persia. The Peshitta agrees more with the Massoretic, but, like

the Septuagint and Theodotion, it is with the “Prince” of Persia that there is some

one remaining. The Peshitta here, in opposition to the Greek versions, has the

statement that Gabriel remained, not Michael. The Vulgate agrees still

further with the Massoretic, only instead of the plural “kings,” it has

“king.” The most important differences are in the last clause, where the

Septuagint and Theodotion must have had the hiphil of rtiy; where the

Massoretic has the niphal.  This interpretation affords a reason for Gabriel’s

presence with Daniel. Michael relieved him in his opposition to the Prince

of Persia. The other variant, “prince” instead of “king,” has the support of

all the versions. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one

and twenty days. That is to say, during the whole of Daniel’s fast. The

angelology of later Judaism is a very complicated, not to say confused,

subject. The angelology of one age is not that of another; and the

angelology of the Jews in one country is not that of the Jews in another.

The Jews themselves understood that the Babylonian captivity did a great

deal to develop the doctrine of the angels; the Jewish tradition was that

they brought back from Babylon the names of the angels. Not only had

their residence in Babylon defined the Jewish ideas as to the names of the

angels, they began to have clearer ideas of their functions. They reached

the idea that every race had its guardian angel. This view is expressed in

Deuteronomy 32:8, according to the Septuagint, “He set bounds for

the nations according to the number of the angels of God.” To a similar

purport is Ecclesiasticus. 17:17, “To each of the nations he appointed a leader,

and Israel is the portion of the Lord.” There seems, however, a preparation

for this in Isaiah 24:21 (compare also Psalm 29:1). As independent

of revelation there is a strong inherent probability that there are races

of beings of intelligence and might vastly superior to man, there is

nothing inherently improbable in these intelligences being employed by the

Almighty in furthering His providential scheme. Men are instruments of

God; is it not at least not improbable that, if there are angels, they, too,

cooperate with God in the working out of His great purpose? That every

nation should have an angelic prince over it is not more extraordinary than

that every Church should have a special angel over it (Revelation 1:20).

That there should be conflicts between these angelic princes is

simply to say they are finite.  By the indications here, we might judge that

the opposition of the Prince of Persia was to the coming of Gabriel to reveal

to Daniel the purpose of God. We know nothing of the means employed in

the opposition, or of the reason of it.  But, lo, Michael, one

of the chief princes, came to help me. Michael (“Who is like God?”) is, in

the twenty-first verse, declared to be the “prince” of the Jewish people,

therefore equivalent to “the captain of the host of the Lord” (Joshua

5:14 – I have always thought the captain of the Lord’s host there was

Christ! – CY - 2014). He is referred to in Revelation 12:7 and Jude 1:9.

Where he is called one of “the chief princes,” there is reference to an angelic

hierarchy, whether the same as that we find developed in the Book of

Enoch or not cannot be decided certainly. In the Book of Tobit 12:15

Raphael declares himself “one of the seven holy angels who present the

prayers of the saints, and who go in and out before the glory of the Holy

One.” The Book of Tobit seems to have been written about B.C. 400;

hence this is an indication of opinion before the Books of Enoch. In the

Enoch books not only are the great angels mentioned, but their names arc

given, and functions are assigned to them; but they are numbered as four,

not seven. Enoch is posterior to Tobit, and finds a place for Michael,

Raphael, and Gabriel. We have no means of testing whether the number of

the chief angelic princes, of whom Michael was one, was four or seven,

according to the opinion of Daniel. From the fact that Enoch is, so to

speak, in the direct line of apocalyptic descent from Daniel, and Tobit is

not, and, moreover, as the angelology of Tobit is in close connection with

the Persian hierarchy of amhaspentas, of which there were seven, — we

may regard four as the more genuinely Jewish number. The later Jewish

angelology has many Persian elements.  Whether the number of the archangels be

made four or seven, both Gabriel and Michael are of the number, whereas

Gabriel’s words would rather indicate that, though Michael belonged to the

rank of chief prince, he did not. As we cannot tell the nature of the

opposition, we cannot tell the nature of the help afforded. And I remained

there with the kings of Persia. It is very difficult to interpret this if we

retain the Massoretic reading. In the first place, the sense given to

nothartee in the Authorized and Revised is unsuitable. The angel is

explaining how, after having delayed three whole weeks, he has now come.

The sentence, as interpreted above,would have explained why he could not

come at all to Daniel. It is attempted to get over this by explaining that

Gabriel had beaten off the “Prince” of Persia, and that Michael remained

with the King of Persia instead of him. This view, however, contradicts the

function assigned to angels of nations, and implies a quasi-omnipresence on

the part of Gabriel, and would render his explanation no explanation.  We must

follow the Septuagint and Theodotion in reading, either as ˆyTir]t"wOhw] or

better, yTir]t"who wOTai, as the vav in the former case would

naturally be read conversively. Besides, Gratz’s reading explains the

needlessly emphatic ynia}. Further, it seems needful to accept the reading of

the two Greek versions and the Peshitta, and instead of ykel]m" read .

None of the old versions support the Massoretic; the Vulgate is the

nearest; and all of them have either read Ël,m, or regarded yklm as a form

of the construct state, and so vocalized differently. Further, the later

context here implies the contiuance of the conflict or controversy (vs. 20-21).

We must understand, then, that Gabriel left Michael to maintain the

conflict against the angelic “Prince” of Persia, while he came in obedience

to Daniel’s prayer. We can have but little idea of what is meant by this

conflict in the heavenlies between angelic beings.

14 “Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall

thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.” None

of the versions call for remark. The Peshitta inserts lesooph, “at the end,”

before “days.” The Massoretic Hebrew has a peculiarity unsupported by

the curlier versions: it has “for the days.” Of course, these versions may

simply have neglected the article, as have our English versions, Authorized

and Revised. In the latter days. Kranichfeld holds that this refers to the

latter portion of the vision in ch. 8., not at the end of time. For yet the

vision is for many days. Professor Bevan would translate, “since there is

yet a vision for the days,” i.e. for the days already referred to in the eighth

chapter. This would make both clauses have practically the same meaning,

which this logical connection implies. There seems no need to take the

“end of days,” as the end of the world.

15 “And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my

face toward the ground, and I became dumb.” The versions agree with

the above. I set my face toward the ground does not mean that Daniel

again fell prostrate, but that his eyes naturally sought the ground. And I

became dumb. Not to be regarded as equivalent to “I remained silent,”

though there is nothing in the narrative to indicate that Daniel had been

speaking; he may have had the sensation of paralyzed vocal cords.

Certainly the verb ‘alam means “to be dumb,” although, as with ourselves,

this phrase does not mean always physiological dumbness, but simply a

silence which, from shyness or fear, one is unable to break. This is the

meaning the versions attach to it. The opinion we indicate finds support in

the dumbness of Zacharias, the father of John Baptist, after Gabriel

appeared to him, (Luke 1) and, still more, in what is related in the following

verse.

 16 “And, 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.” The Septuagint rendering

differs from this, “And behold, as the likeness of the hand of a man” —

due, more likely to explanatory paraphrase than to various reading of ry

for ynb; still the phrase, “a likeness of sons of man,” is somewhat violent,

and not to be paralleled by Psalm 45:2 — “touched my lips, and I

opened my mouth, and spake, and I said to him who stood before me,

Lord, even when the vision was turned upon my side to me.” Clearly ydyx

(tzeedee) has been read by mistake for yryx (tzeeree). The sense of the

Massoretic is difficult; but this is nonsense. “And there was no strength in

me,” reading ylwya instead of ytrx[. Theodotion renders, “And behold,

as the likeness of a son of man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth,

and spake, and said to him that stood before me, In thy appearance my

bowels (τὰ ἐντός μου - ta entos mou – turned) were turned in me, and I had

no strength.” Theodotion has evidently had the singular ˆB, instead of yneb],

or perhaps regarded it as a survival of the old form of the construct. It is probably not

due to a different reading, but to a different meaning given to μyryx, that

we have ἐντός . The Peshitta resembles Theodotion very closely, having,                

however, enosh, “man,” instead of “son of man.” We have also go’,

“body,” or “viscera,” as the translation of tzeereem. The Vulgate renders to

the same purport; the last portion of the verse runs thus: In visions tua

dissolutas sunt compages meae et nihil in me remansit virium. It also has,

in the first clause, similitudo filii hominis. It seems difficult to avoid the

conclusion that we should read “son of man” instead of “sons of man”

Were there any diplomatic or other evidence in favor of the reading of the

Septuagint, it would be much preferable to any other, as we have the

description of the visitant whose hand touched Daniel, in vs. 5 and 6.

Hence the assertion here, that the likeness of a son of man touched him,

does not harmonize with this, as it seems to introduce a new person. There

is no reference to hands in the description in vs. 5 and 6, “the hand as of

a man” there would not be the introduction of something already

mentioned. Touched my lips. In the previous chapter, v. 21, the angel

Gabriel “touches” Daniel. The emphasis of the act, in the present instance,

does not be in the fact of touching, but in this — that it was the lips that

were touched. In Isaiah 6:6-7 one of the seraphim touches the lips

of the prophet with a live coal from off the altar.” In Isaiah the object is

purification; in the case before us it is the restoration of the power of

speech. Then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood

before me. This is the result of the touch of the angelic hand. O my lord, by

the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no

strength. “Lord” here is not “Jehovah,” but “Adonai” — a title of respect,

certainly, but not necessarily of adoration. Theodotion and the Vulgate

render “thy vision,” understanding by that “thy appearance.” The meaning

is the same as that of the ordinary reading. Hence it is probably due to a

desire to emphasize this rather than to any difference of reading. “My

sorrows are turned upon me.” This is a term that involves great difficulty.

The term is used of the pangs of childbirth (I Samuel 4:19), and

transferred to sorrows (Isaiah 13:8). And this is the sense in which it

has generally been taken here; the more readily that in I Samuel 4:19

the same phrase is used as here But the sense does not seem very good; the

appearance of the angel was not an occasion of sorrow, however much of

awe there might be in it. The word has a number of meanings, which it is

certainly difficult to bring into relationship with each other. Thus in

Proverbs 26:14 it means a “hinge;” in Ibid. ch.25:13 it means

“messenger,” and this is the meaning it most frequently bears (Ibid. ch.

13:17; Isaiah 18:2; Jeremiah 49:14; Obadiah 1:1). Neither of

these meanings is at all suitable. In Psalm 49:16 we have the word

appearing in the K’thib, and translated “beauty;” hence it would be

equivalent to ydwh (hodee) of v. 8. The Septuagint  is out of court.

Theodotion, the Peshitta, and the Vulgate differ from each other, so that

nothing is to be drawn from them. We would, then, take this phrase as

equivalent to that in the eighth verse, “I have retained no strength.” This

fitly follows up what has been already stated.

17 “For 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.” The Septuagint does not preserve the

peculiar use of the demonstrative which we have here. Theodotion has it in

the second case only; the Peshitta retains it; but the Vulgate omits it

altogether. The rendering of neshama by πνεῦμα - pneuma – spirit - in the Greek

versions may be noted. Jerome renders, halitus. The Aramaic influence is seen in

Ëyhe. (hayeh) instead of Ëyae (‘ayeh). How can the servant,” etc., exhibits

respect and humility. For as for me, etc. This seems not to be part of

Daniel’s address to the angel, but a note which he has added to indicate his

condition while he was speaking. Neither is there breath left in me. There

is no certainty whether this is to be taken in the physical or metaphysical

sense; whether we should regard the prophet as declaring that awe

deprived him of the power of breath, or he felt his consciousness so

numbed as that he seemed to be without it.

18 “Then there came again and touched me one like the

appearance of a man, and he strengthened me.” The versions here call

for no remark. The prophet still stood, but trembling and powerless, unable

to comprehend fully the revelation; but now again the strengthening hand

touches him. It cannot be regarded as a strain put upon the meaning here, if

we see in this repeated presence of one in the form of man a symbol of

Christ, who took upon Him the form of a servant, and was found in fashion

as a man.  (Philippians 2:7)

19 “And 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. The Septuagint has its ordinary translation of the phrase

rendered, “man greatly beloved (ἄνθρωπος ἐλεεινὸς εἶ - anthropos eleeinos ei).

They give three words for the repetition of the command, “be strong”:

·          ὑγίαινε - hugiane - be in good health;                      

·          ἀνδρίζουandrizou –play the man;

·          ἴσχυε - ischue - be strong.    

                            

In the last clause the third person is retained, “Let my lord speak, for he

Strengthened me” — a change made for symmetry. Theodotion is much closer to

the Massoretic text, only he, too, varies the words in the command, and has

ἀνδρίζου καὶ ἴσχυε - andrizou kai ischus.  The Peshitta, like Theodotion, varies                  

the word in the command, In the last clause the verb is put in the passive, “and I

was strengthened,” For the command the Vulgate has, confortare et esto

robustus; but the last clause is in strict agreement with the Massoretic. It is

to be noted that the repetition of the imperative, united by ray, is

unexampled; the various renderings in the versions point to this being felt a

difficulty, but do not suggest any variations of reading. Not only is the

strengthening touch given, but consoling words are added, “Be strong, yea,

be strong.” Daniel was called upon to put forth energy, to summon his

forces mental and spiritual. He had received the strengthening touch, but

his own volition must go along with the aid divinely afforded. It is the

combination which we find in our Lord’s life; without faith even the

miraculous power of our Lord could not be put forth. As we have noted,

there is some uncertainty as to the reading, but no change would alter the

sense of the passage, “And when he had spoken unto me, I was

strengthened.” The words spoken called forth the power that was latent,

and had been imparted to Daniel. And said, Let my lord speak, for thou

hast strengthened me. Even to hold converse with angelic beings, entailed

expenditure of vital energy. The overpowering sense of the spiritual has to

be resisted, at least so far, in order that mental action may go on. Had

strength not been imparted, the revelations bestowed would not have

produced any permanent impression on the mind.

The Vision of The Christ (vs. 1-12, 14-19)

“I was left alone, and saw this great vision” (v. 8). It is well to begin by

clearing up the context. We have now only one more prophecy in Daniel.

This occupies the eleventh chapter. The tenth contains a prologue to the

prophecy; the twelfth, an epilogue. In v.1 the character of the prophecy is

indicated:

ü      Its subject-matter is afflictive. The conflict is great. It covers a time of

great calamities (see the Hebrew).

ü      The prophecy was to be unusually intelligible. And he understood the

word, and understanding was there to him in the vision.” Some haze of

mystery there might be, but not the thick darkness which had enrobed

preceding revelations.

ü      It would certainly be true. “A word was revealed to Daniel… and true

the word.” The prophecy of ch. 11. is the most minute of Scripture; and

hence men have been tempted to disbelieve in it as prophecy, and to regard

it as prophecy written after the event. Men might have disregarded it before

fulfillment; hence Daniel gives this assurance. We now here concern

ourselves with Daniels vision of THE CHRIST!

Jerusalem had taken place. Daniel’s advanced age made it, perhaps,

impossible that he should have joined in it. He may have been on the Tigris:

Ø      Either on an embassage,

Ø      Or retired from all official life.

Ø      Two years after the first migration back from captivity (v. 1).

Ø      A time of sorrow. Mourning was usually for seven days: Daniel mourned

for three times seven. Fasting, etc. Why? Realize the circumstances. The

temple was indeed rising; but neighboring peoples were exerting all their

influence with the Persian king to frustrate the work. Therefore anxiety and

fear. Daniel’s affliction would be in proportion as success seemed certain.

Good men grieve over slow progress of the Divine kingdom, and the

fierceness of the opposition.  (See Ezekiel 9:4)

Ø      Time of the Passover. On the twenty-fourth day of the first month came

the vision. We infer that Daniel had consecrated the first three weeks of

the new year to devotion. This included the Passover week — a time of

unusual solemnity — when he would be in earnest sympathy with his

nation.

Lord appears:

Ø      From the after-developments of the scene.

Ø      From a comparison with the vision of Christ in the Apocalypse.

(Revelation 1.)

Compare the two descriptions of clothing — the girdle, the countenance,

the eyes, the feet, the voice. Daniel adds, “His body also was like the

beryl.” John adds, “His head and his hairs were white,” etc. In drawing out

the description into detail, note: the clothing was of the finest, purest —

the garb of priests, prophets, saints, and angels; the uncovered portions of

the body shone with gem-like splendor; all the symbols suggest

light-splendor; the girdle of fine gold; the arms and feet “like the eye of

polished brass,” the part that catches the blaze of sunlight and throws it

back; the face as lightning, and the eyes as fire; the voice majestic. All this

may be spiritually expanded.

Ø      On the companions of the seer. (v. 7.) Compare effect on Paul’s

companions on the way to Damascus, of the vision of the same Christ.

(Acts 9:7)

Ø      On the seer. (vs. 8-9.) He swooned; but the mighty voice came

rolling into his ear, as the roar of ocean breaks into the caves upon the

shore. Here we have a picture of the inability of man to stand before the

unveiled revelations of God (compare Revelation 1:17).

Ø      Sets man erect in the presence of Divine revelations. (v.11.) No

need of cringing. We ourselves are made in the image of God, and

have affinity with the Divine.

Ø      He does so gradually. Daniel was first flat on his face; then on all fours;

then half-raised and trembling; and finally stood upright on his feet. In

this, see how man is gradually led up to all the light which God has to

give. In heaven the unveiling may be gradual (vs. 9-11 – It will take

an eternity to do so! – CY – 2014).

Ø      Sympathetically. “Behold, a hand touched me” (vs. 10, 16-19).

Ø      Assures man that his devout aspirations are recognized beyond the sky.

Daniel’s was the attitude of a devout truth-seeker. He “had set his heart to

understand,” and “to chasten himself before his God.” We should have

more uniformity of Scripture interpretation, were the interpreter always of

THE HOLY SPIRIT!

Ø      And of the sure answer to his prayers. (v. 12.) As soon as prayer was

offered, it was heard, and secret agencies were evoked for its answer; but

there were many obstacles to be overcome. The later part of the chapter

shows this. So may it ever be, before our prayers can be answered, long

lines and combinations of secondary causes may have to be set in

operation, and formidable hostilities subdued. Patience in waiting for, as

well as faith in expecting the answer, are both necessary in the matter of

prayer.

Divine Encouragement  (vs. 18-19)

Ø      In trouble. It is difficult to work bravely and earnestly in the midst of

calamity. The calamities of Israel were discouragements in the way of

the service of God.

Ø      In guilt. Daniel had been confessing the sins of himself and his nation

(ch.9:5). Nothing is so depressing as the feeling of failure and the

knowledge that it has come by our own fault.

Ø      In weakness. The burden of the mystery of life oppresses all who feel it,

as it oppressed Daniel. Before the needs of the world and the tasks of

life the strongest man may well feel weak in his own resources, and then

his weakness may damp his zeal for service.

Ø      In fear. When the mystery of the future begins to unveil itself and future

troubles appear to be drawing near, the vagueness with which they are

seen magnifies the terror of them. The fear which is then roused paralyzes

our energies.

Ø      They are found in God. God sends the angel to strengthen Daniel. Until

we know God, we dread His presence; but when we know Him, the

more we enter into His presence, the more peace and confidence shall

we receive.

Ø      They spring from the love of God. Daniel is greatly beloved.The

assurance of God’s love is His greatest encouragement. If we know God

loves us, we may be assured that He will ward off all real harm, and thus

we may lose our fear in His love (I John 4:18).

Ø      They flow to us through channels of brotherly sympathy. “One like the

appearance of a man” touched Daniel. God comes to us in “the Son of

man,” and through the brotherly sympathy of Christ communicates His

Divine encouragement.

Ø      They manifest themselves by practical results in communicating real

strength. Daniel was strengthened. There is a real supply of spiritual

strength which is bestowed by the gift of THE HOLY SPIRIT. The

encouragement this gives is not only in idea, it is in fact. The weak man

is encouraged by finding himself becoming strong in the strength of

God (Isaiah 40:29; (II Corinthians 12:10).

Ø      By humility and contritions. Daniel had humbled himself and confessed

sin, and thus was prepared for God’s help. We can only be filled with

God’s strength when we are emptied of our own self-confidence.

Ø      By prayer. Daniel was a man of prayer (v. 12). God encourages us in

proportion as we seek His help.

Ø      By faith As we trust God, He strengthens us, because His strength is

spiritual and can only enter us as we voluntarily submit to His influence

(Hebrews 11:33-34).

 20 “Then 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.” The versions here

are in close agreement with the Massoretic text. Theodetion, since he

begins the speech of the angel with εἰ - ei - if, may have read ˆhe (hayn), “if,”                   

instead of h} (ha), the sign of interrogation. The Peshitta has, “to make

war,” instead of “fight,” indicating a beginning of hostilities, not a

continuance of them. Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto

thee? This question appears to be abruptly put, and to be put without

awaiting an answer. Probably the meaning would be better brought out by

rendering, somewhat colloquially, “You know, don’t you? After I have

revealed the future to you, I must return.” In considering this whole

subject, we must beware of taking everything literally. We may not deduce,

because of the statement here, that angels are under the limitations of time

and space, or that there is actual warfare. We must regard the matter as, to

a large extent, figurative. And now will I return to fight with the Prince of

Persia. Every one who studies history in a philosophic spirit must see that

the progress of the race, the evolution of that ultimate ideal state — the

kingdom of heaven among men — is accomplished by successive steps,

and over each step a nationality presides. This nationality represents the

special moment of spiritual force necessary to secure the new step the race

is required to take. While in the lower plane of history the nations

themselves do these things; in the higher sphere it is their angels who are

the actors. A nation has in it much of the characteristics of a living

organism, and the angel of the nation is the life of that organism. As a finite

being, the angel of any nation of necessity is imperfect; his knowledge of

the Divine plan only limited. His instrument — the nation committed to his

charge — is yet more imperfect. Let an imperfect being, however holy,

have a piece of work to do, that work must assume, to him, an exaggerated

importance; let him be associated as patron with sentient beings, and his

affections must go forth to these beings in a special way. He will resist any

attempt to limit in any way the function of that race which is specially his,

and will be apt to interpret too widely this function, and be loath to

recognize that its time is past, or this or that region is beyond its province.

If we regard Gabriel as an angel of the kingdom of heaven, and by this the

angel of prophecy,  then he must exercise a watchful care over the actions

of each nationality, and therefore of its angel, lest the ultimate purpose of God

be in any way hindered. The angel of Persia might regard the national semi-

independence allowed to the Jews as hindering the evolution of the idea exhibited

by the Persian race. The Persian rule allowed races a good deal of license if

tribute were paid. It was required to specialize its treatment of the Jews; to

convey them back from Babylon to Palestine; to protect them in Palestine;

to assist them to set up a quasi-independence. All this was contrary to the

negative character of the Persian rule, in contradiction to its spirit, and

therefore opposed by its angel, who represented this spirit. Michael, the

special angel of the Jews, naturally came to assist Gabriel. What a conflict

between angelic spirits may mean, what may be the weapons of their

warfare, we know not; we do know that, though not carnal, they are

mighty. And when I am gone forth. To this phrase several meanings have

been attached. Havernick, Maurer, and Ewald take it as meaning “going

forth to war.” Ewald renders, “I will return to contend against the Prince of

Persia; so, while I am going forth, the Prince of Javan will come.” In this

connection it is very doubtful whether ax;y; (yatza’) can mean “going forth

to battle.” Motion to the field of battle is indicated by “return.” Yatza

simply means to go from a given place; the purpose may be indicated by

some other word.    A great deal of the difficulty  is due to maintaining

that angels are under the time-relation of human beings. The matter is

clearer if we take it as meaning simply that when Gabriel went out from the

presence of Daniel, the “Prince of Grecia”would come. Lo, the Prince of Grecia

shall come. This does not refer to Alexander the Great, or the overthrow of the Persian

Empire, still less to the Seleucids and their persecutions. Before his Babylonian reign,

Cyrus encountered the Greeks, and roused their opposition. The angel, then, of

the Greek nation began to stir up his people. Then came the Ionian revolt,

and the successive invasions of Greece, which compelled the Persians to

leave the “holy people” alone. The angelic Prince of Grecia appears first as

an instrument of the angel of prophecy, to limit the power of Persia. When,

after prolonged conflicts, the empire of Persia gives place to that of

Greece, the conflict of the people of God must be renewed in a fiercer form.

21 “But I will show 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.” The Septuagint rendering is, “And in very truth

(μάλαmala - wholly) I will show thee the first things in the writing of truth: and

there was no one helping with me against these, but Michael the angel.” The

Septuagint translator read μyviar;h; (harasheem), “the heads,” instead of μWvr;h;

(harashoom), written with a inserted as mater lectionis. Theodotion is in

accordance with our English Version. The Peshitta renders, “Yet will I

show thee something noted in the writing of truth; and there was none in

all these who helped me but Michael your prince.” The Vulgate agrees with

the Massoretic and the English. But I will show thee that which is noted in

the scripture of truth. lb}a;(‘abal) is a strongly adversative conjunction.

The use of it is explained by Kranichfeld and Zockler as due to the fears for

the theocracy aroused by the thought that the Greek power was rising

against Israel. If the idea had been that Gabriel was called to hurry back to

his post because of the threatened approach of the Prince of Grecia, then it

might be defended; only even then either the fact of the necessity for

speedy return to the Persian court would have been emphasized, or the fact

that he is delaying to make known the contents of the writing of truth. It is,

perhaps, better rendered by “nevertheless,” as it is in II Chronicles 19:3.

We can see the force of this particle by turning to v. 7, “I Daniel alone

saw the vision, for the men that were with me saw not the vision, but

(equivalent to ‘nevertheless’) a great quaking fell upon them.” This clause,

we see, then, has all the appearance of being intruded violently into the

text; it interrupts the progress of thought, and does not suit the context.

There is no indication that he, Gabriel, will have to hasten back to the court

of Persia with such rapidity as would necessitate the introduction of lb;a}

(abal), “nevertheless.” But even so, why revert in the next clause to the

contents of v. 20, without the slightest indication that the line of thought

in the past clause was dropped as soon as taken up? The last clause of this

verse reads much better in connection with v. 20 than with v. 21a.  “The

scripture of truth” is a phrase that might have been suggested by Psalm

139:16, “In thy book were all my members written.” It is in line with a

great number of phrases in apocalyptic literature; thus Enoch 93:1, “And

after that Enoch began to recount from the books;” the Book of Jubilees,

1:24; 4:31; 5:15, etc., “the tablets of the heavens.” The idea was that all the

events that were to happen in the world’s history were recorded

beforehand in the books or tablets of the heavens.  At the same

 time, the form the representation of the heavenly books, which note

beforehand what was to happen, assumes here is simpler than that in Enoch

or the Book of Jubilees. And there is none that holdeth with me in these

things, but Michael your prince. As we have above said, this clause is

closely connected with v. 20. In these things. This is rendered in the

Revised Version “against these,” in accordance with many majority of recent

commentators but none of the older versions have it. The Septuagint renders,                    

ὑπὲρ τούτων - huper touton – against; Theodotion, περὶ τούτων - peri touton

against these; the Peshitta has the preposition; the Vulgate renders, in his omnibus.

With these Calvin agrees, though Luther renders, wider jene. Certainly, the most

common meaning of l[" in such a connection is “against.” So, notwithstanding the

weight of the versions, we feel constrained to translate, “against these persons,”

and not “in regard to these things.” In the first place, “in” is a far less frequent

meaning of the preposition, and next, hleae (aylayh), “these,” most naturally

refers to the persons last named. Although “the Prince of Grecia” was to be the

instrument of the overthrow of the power of Persia, it was to become

oppressive afterwards, as had been revealed to Daniel in the vision of the

ram and the he-goat. Gabriel, the angel of prophecy, the special guardian

of God’s great ideal kingdom of heaven, was assisted in his guardianship

only by Michael, the angelic Prince of Israel. The fact that along the line of

the development of Israel as a nation ran, so far at least, the Divine plan

concerning the kingdom of heaven, made it natural that Michael should

favor that which furthered the interests of the race that was more specially

under his care. As we have already said, we cannot even guess at the

nature of these angelic conflicts.

 

 

 

Variety of Angelic Service (vs. 11-21)

 

It is quite legitimate for us to reason from God’s conduct towards men in

the past to His probable conduct towards men now. If in His wisdom He

employed His angels to be ministers of good to Daniel and to Israel two

thousand years ago, we may conclude that it is an exercise of wisdom to do

the like to-day. Perfect wisdom will only change its plans, so far as new

circumstances and needs arise. Hence there is instruction and consolation

for us in this Scripture.

 

THEIR ACCEPTANCE WITH GOD. This angel, who was probably

Gabriel, was commissioned to assure Daniel that he was “greatly beloved.”

Every doubt upon that head was completely removed. The angel knew

what were God’s dispositions of mind towards Daniel, and he was

empowered to convey the intelligence. There is nothing unreasonable in

this; no improbability that beings of refined nature exist in nearer relation

to God than do men; no improbability that they perform acts of service for

men. That which is naturally probable is made certain by the written

revelation. It is often the case that we cannot account for our moods of

feeling, our hopefulness and our despondency, by any known events. Who

shall say that these states of mind are not the result of angelic visitation?

That we are not conscious of the presence of angels is no proof that they

do not visit us. Their ethereal natures may be impervious to human sight,

except by miraculous interposition. Elisha’s servant did not perceive the

angelic host sent for their protection until God had specially opened his

eyes. (II Kings 6:17)  Once and again this angel assured Daniel of his interest

in God’s love, charged him to dismiss his fears, and brought to him heavenly

peace.

 

UNDERSTANDING. One main object of Gabriel’s visit to Daniel was to

shed light upon passing events, and to enlarge Daniel’s comprehension of

God’s government. So high was God’s esteem for Daniel, that Gabriel was

dispatched on purpose to dislodge ignorance and doubt from his mind. He

assures him that the want of visible answer to prayer is no proof that God

has not heard, nor that he is unwilling to reply. On the contrary, Daniel’s

prayer had taken effect from the very beginning, and measures were at

once set in motion in accordance therewith. The prayers and fastings of

good men are links (ordained by God) in the chain of causes and effects.

As soon as man interceded for Israel, Gabriel was dispatched on business

of high importance to the kingdom of Persia. And Gabriel was further

charged to unfold to Daniel what was in the volume of God’s purposes —

the series of vicissitudes through which Israel would be destined to pass.

God’s thoughts were loftier than Daniel’s; His designs had a wider scope

and range than His servant’s. Nothing short of the establishment of

permanent righteousness will satisfy God.

 

is noteworthy that as Daniel’s needs arose one after the other, the angel

was prepared to meet each one. Daniel was prostrate; the angel set him

upright. Daniel was so stunned with the intelligence, that he was dumb; the

angel opened his mouth, and gave him speech. Daniel fainted under a sense

of awe and wonder; the angel imparted new strength with his touch. We

are impressed with the considerateness, the tenderness, the thoughtful

sympathy, of this angelic visitor. There was strength imparted to his

physical nature by a touch; there was strength imparted to his soul by the

angel’s words. According to the constitution of man’s nature is the agency

employed by God. The angel who strengthened Christ Jesus in the garden

of suffering can also strengthen us.  (Luke 22:43)

 

THE CHURCH IN PALACES AND IN COUNCILS OF STATE. There

are times when they can best serve us, not at our side, but at a distance

from us. Probably Daniel was agitated in soul, because for three weeks no

sign of answer came from heaven. Yet, all the while, answer had come,

though he was unconscious of it. Daniel was concerned, not for himself,

but for the well-being and fortunes of Israel. But he might rest assured that

God had more at heart these interests — than man, however zealous, ever

can. This report of Gabriel opens to our minds a new view of angelic

ministration. It is evident that they do perform their service on earth, for

the most part, unseen by human eyes. Gabriel had been with the kings and

statesmen of Persia. So important to Israel’s well-being was his presence in

that court, that for three weeks he had remained there. His power was

limited; he could not be in two places at once, nor could he accomplish his

mission without the assistance of Michael. For the time being, it was better

that Daniel should remain in ignorance of the fact. His continued fasting

and prayer were essential to complete success. In what fashion Gabriel

rendered service we are not told. Most probably he had power to influence

the views, the motives, the ambitious of men. A thousand subtle agencies

were at his command, by which he could direct the counsels of men and

bring about the purposes of God. Angelic influence, then, is a factor in

state concerns which we do well not to ignore.  (I dare say that they

were a lot more likely to have been in Philadelphia during the

Constitutional Convention than in the present halls of congress,

the Oval Office or the Supreme Court Building during the last

half century, where it often seems that a majority of those 545

men and women have made policies that are attempting to

undermine the influence of God’s governance in the world!

CY – 2014)

 

FULFILLING THE BEHESTS OF GOD. There can be little doubt that

the language here employed by Gabriel, viz. “the prince of the kingdom of

Persia,” refers to one of the leading spirits of darkness, one of the fallen

angels. There are principalities and powers in hell. Satan is termed the

prince of this world,” “the prince of the power of the air.” (This explains

what is going on in our society in the 21st century.  We are dealing with

spiritual wickedness in high places.” - Ephesians 6:12 – an

on slaught of drugs, sensuality and ungodly behavior from hell

itself.  Revelation 20:7-8 – CY – 2014)  An antagonist of Gabriel

would be fittingly an evil spirit. Gabriel speaks of fighting with him.

There was hot warfare. So we read in the Epistle of Jude 1:7 that Michael

disputed with the devil about the body of Moses. That some bold and

crafty spirit, in the confederate host of hell, should be told off to do some

particular evil work is probable enough; and that such, having subordinates

under him, should be styled leader or prince of a particular earthly empire

is equally probable. This earth, then, is the scene of mighty conflicts.

Angels here have their combats as well as men. Here, perhaps, is being

fought out the crucial conflict between the Creator and His rebellious

creatures — the conflict between righteousness and wickedness. Gabriel,

though “excelling in power,” is not omnipotent. Some things even an angel

alone cannot do. They learn that in union is strength. Michael is sent to

help him — Michael, who is set apart as the prince or protector of Israel.

Gabriel cannot be long spared from the particular scene of conflict. During

a temporary truce he visits Daniel This accomplished, he returns to the

troublesome scene in the court of Persia.

War in the Realm Supernatural (vs. 13-20 – ch. 11:1)

“And now will I return to fight with the Prince of Persia” (v. 20). In

these verses we have opened out the fact that there is war in the realm

supernatural. To understand them, it is absolutely necessary to revise the

English version. We read thus: “And the prince of the kingdom of Persia

stood against me twenty and one days, and behold Michael one of the chief

princes came to help me, and I gained the superiority there by the side of

the kings of Persia And he said, Dost thou know why I came unto thee?

And now I will return to war with the Prince of Persia, and while I [thus]

go forth [to war], behold the Prince of Javan will come. But yet I will show

to thee that which is written in the book of truth. And not one is there

showing himself strong with me against these [the princes of Persia and

Javan] except Michael your prince; I also in the first year of Darius the

Mede stood in order to strengthen and for a fortress to him” (i.e. Michael).

This reading of ours is necessary to make clear the meaning of our

homiletical culture. Lest any should be surprised at the fullness of the

revelation in Daniel as to angels and the angel-world, we may observe that

there are two epochs in Hebrew history, when angels are specially prominent.

ü      The time of the judges. Destitute of direct revelation or prophetic

guidance.

ü      The period of the Captivity. One of special trial, incident to contact with

heathenism.

 

Ø      On the side of God.

 

o       The Angel-God. The Logos. The “certain man” of v. 5.

The Lord Jesus. The speaker throughout (vs. 13,20; ch. 11:1).

 

o       Michael. His name means, “Who is like unto God?” and implies

that, however high is the scale of being, there is an infinite

distance between him and God (see ch. 12:1; Jude 1:9;

Revelation 12:7). The following propositions seem clear

about him: He is not the Logos; for he is here distinguished

from Him. “One of the chief princes,” one of the

principal in the hierarchy of heaven. “Your prince,” the angelic

representative and guardian of the Jewish nation. “The

great prince who standeth for the children of thy people.”

                                    An archangel.

 

Ø      On the side of the world. The “princes” here named are the supernatural

power standing behind the daimoniae, who stood behind the national

gods,and were represented by them. They are spirits of evil, inspiring the

worldly anti-Divine action of the great empires of earth.

 

o       The “Prince of Persia.”

o       The Prince of Javan; i.e. Greece.

 

  • THE WAR. The war was on behalf of Israel, and may be described as

 

being prosecuted through three supernatural campaigns. We consider them

separately.

 

Ø      The first campaign. (ch. 11:1.)

 

o       The antagonist. Not mentioned here by name, but, following the

analogy of the rest of the description, is certainly the celestial

“Prince” of Babylonia.

o       The casus belli. The occasion of conflict. This, doubtless, was the

necessity of placing on the Babylonian throne one who would be

favorable to the return of Israel from the Captivity.

o       Speciatlities.

§         Michael carried on the war.

 

§         The Christ supported him.

     This order is reversed in the next campaign.

o       The victory. Lies with the Divine in every case.

 

Ø      The second campaign. (v. 15.)

 

o       The antagonist. “The Prince of Persia.’

o       The casus belli. The obstruction raised against the restoration of

the temple, at the instigation of Israel’s enemies.

o       Specialities.

§         This campaign was carried on by the Angel-God Himself.

§         But aided by Michael. Here should be noted the doctrine

that angels and men may be co-workers together with God.

                                         (Someday the heavenly and earthly beings will be brought

                                          together through JESUS CHRIST!  - Ephesians 1:10 –

     CY - 2014)

§         Was synchronous with Daniels prayer. All the way

through the twenty-one days the prayer was being

answered through a mighty conflict carried on in a

higher world.

o       The victory. Specially mentioned: “And I gained the superiority

there by the side of the kings of Persia.”

 

Ø      The third campaign. (vs. 20-21.)

 

o       The antagonists. The “princes” of Persia and Javan.

o       The casus belli. All that, in their worldliness, was attempted by

Persia afterwards, by Greece, by Alexander and his successors,

especially Antiochus, to the sore detriment of the Jewish people.

o       A speciality. Only Michael in this great contention was on the Christ

side.  Note:

§         There is, then, liberty in heaven as on earth to do or not to do

to go forth to war or to rest in peace.

§         Michael made a noble use of liberty.

§         By endowment he towered above others “One of the

chief princes.”

§         Therefore to him were great responsibilities entrusted.

He was made the guardian spirit of the Hebrew nation

and Church. “To whom much is given much is required”

(Luke 12:48) seems to be a law of all moral worlds.

“Michael your prince. To a subordinate spirit God will

not entrust a work demanding special power and greatness.”

o       The victory. Again not expressly mentioned, but sure.

The following deductions from the whole subject should, perhaps,

have special mention and emphasis:

§         The Church has many and powerful enemies.

§         It abides under most powerful protection. What

Michael was to Israel of old, that, and more than that,

IS THE LORD JESUS TO ISRAEL NOW  and He has

                                          many helpers

§         Its destiny is in conflict in the worlds above, as well as here

below.

§          In the holy war here, the humblest may take a share.

The Son of God stooped to avail Himself of the help of Michael;

so He ever stoops to accept the humblest contribution, the

lowliest service.

 

“The Son of God goes forth to war,

A kingly crown to gain;

His blood-red banner streams afar;

Who follows in His train?”

 

"Excerpted text Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.

Materials are reproduced by permission."

This material can be found at:

http://www.adultbibleclass.com

If this exposition is helpful, please share with others!