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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Daniel 10



Verses 1-13

The Final Vision

These chs, form a connected whole, with three sub-divisions. Daniel 10:1 to Daniel 11:1 are introductory; Daniel 11:2 to Daniel 12:4 contain a detailed account of future events down to the 'time of the end.' This time is further defined in the concluding section, Daniel 12:5-13.

(a) Introduction (Daniel 10:1 to Daniel 11:1)

In the third year of Cyrus, after three weeks of mourning and fasting, Daniel has a vision by the river Hiddekel of a glorious angelic being (Daniel 10:1-10), who addresses him in encouraging words (Daniel 10:11-12). This angel has been delayed by a conflict with the guardian angel of Persia, in which he has been helped by Michael, the guardian angel of the Jews. He is about to return to the conflict, and will afterwards have to oppose the guardian angel of Greece (Daniel 10:13-21). Michael has formerly been indebted to the speaker for help (Daniel 11:1).

This conception of guardian or patron angels of the different nations is not found elsewhere in the OT., but is prominent in the book of Enoch (Daniel 6-15).

1. The third year of Cyrus] 636 b.c., the latest date mentioned in Daniel's life. But the time appointed was long] RV 'Even a great warfare.'

4. Hiddekel] the Tigris (Genesis 2:14): see on 82.

7. Cp. Acts 9:7.

9. See Acts 8:18.

11. Cp. Ezekiel 2:1.

12. For thy words] RV 'for thy words' sake.'

13. Prince] guardian angel: cp. Daniel 10:20-21, Daniel 12:1. One and twenty days] the period of Daniel's fasting (Daniel 10:2). The conflict with the angel of Persia explains the speaker's delay.

Michael] a second angelic name. In Daniel Michael is the guardian angel of the Jews (Daniel 10:21, Daniel 12:1). One of the chief princes] a distinction in rank among the angels is here recognised, which other apocalyptic books carry out in great detail. In Judges 1:9 (in a quotation from the Assumption of Moses) Michael is called an 'archangel,' and in Revelation 12:7 he appears as a leader among the angels.

Remained] RM 'was not needed.' The arrival of Michael enabled the speaker to come to Daniel.

20. Grecia] RV 'Greece.' The interests of the Jews would have to be maintained against the Persian and Greek powers in succession.

21. Scripture] RV 'writing,' the book of destiny. In these things] RV 'against these' (the 'princes' of Persia and Greece)

C. II. I. Darius the Mede] see on Daniel 5:31. Him] Michael.

(b) History of Persia, Greece, Syria, and Egypt (Daniel 11:2 to Daniel 12:4)

The angel describes the reigns of the first Persian kings up to the Greek wars of Xerxes I (Daniel 11:2). Then he passes to the conquests of Alexander the Great (Daniel 11:3) and the subdivision of his empire (Daniel 11:4). Next follows a very minute account of various episodes in the history of the Greek kingdoms of Syria and Egypt (the kings of the N. and S. respectively, Daniel 11:5-20). Finally we have a full description of the career and fate of Antiochus Epiphanes (Daniel 11:21-45), and a picture of the troubles which will follow his death and will usher in the resurrection and the reward of the righteous (Daniel 12:1-4).

It has been supposed by some that Daniel 11:36-45, on account of their resemblance to Daniel 7:25; Daniel 9:26-27, refer not to Antiochus, but to Antichrist, but this view does violence to the plain continuity of the sense. The resemblances only go to prove that the other passages allude not to Antichrist but to Antiochus.

2. Yet three kings] in succession to Cyrus who is already reigning (Daniel 10:1). The three are Cambyses, Darius I (Hystaspes), and Xerxes I (Ahasuerus). The fourth] including Cyrus I, is Xerxes I, who was a king of vast wealth, and prepared a great army and navy for the invasion of Greece (Herod. vii, 20-29). The expedition was an utter failure, and the battles of Thermopylæ and Salamis (480 b.c.) and those of Platæa and Mycale (489 b.c.) are among the most glorious events in Greek history.

3. A mighty king] Alexander the Great (333-322 b.c.). 4. The partition of Alexander's empire is described: see chapter Daniel 8:8, Daniel 8:22.

5-20. Along with the notes on these vv. the table of Syrian and Egyptian kings on p. 538 should be consulted.

5. The king of the south] Ptolemy I (Soter), the first Egyptian king. One of his princes] Seleucus I (Nicator), the first Syrian king, was originally an officer under Ptolemy I. He] Seleucus. Above him] above Ptolemy.

6. The king's daughter of the south] Berenice, the daughter of Ptolemy II (Philadelphus) was given in marriage to Antiochus 11 (Theos), the king of the north, who divorced his former wife Laodice. On the death of Ptolemy II Antiochus divorced Berenice and took Laodice back. Laodice poisoned Antiochus, and their son Seleucus (afterwards Callinicus) murdered Berenice and her child. She shall not retain.. she shall be given up] allusions to the fate of Berenice. Neither shall he stand] referring to the murder of Antiochus by Laodice. He that begat her, and he, etc.] read, 'he that begat her and strengthened her.' Ptolemy II is meant.

7, 8. Ptolemy III (Euergetes), the brother of Berenice, in revenge for his sister's death, invaded Syria (then ruled by Seleucus II, Callinicus), captured Seleucia, and returned to Egypt with much spoil.

7. A branch of her (Berenice's) roots] her brother Ptolemy III.

In his estate (RV 'place')] in place of Ptolemy II. The fortress] Seleucia.

8. Continue more years than] RV 'refrain some years from.'

9. Seleucus II (Callinicus) invaded Egypt in 242 b.c., but had to retreat.

So the king of the south, etc.] RV 'And he' (Seleucus II) 'shall come into the realm of the king of the south' (Ptolemy III).

10-12. Seleucus II (Callinicus) was succeeded by his two sons, Seleucus III (Ceraunus) and Antiochus III (the Great). The war described was really conducted by the latter. After some preliminary campaigns, Antiochus III was defeated by Ptolemy IV (Philopator) at Raphia (217 b.c.).

10. But his sons] Seleucus III and Antiochus III, the sons of Seleucus II. And one] RV 'which.' Then shall he] RV 'and they shall.' His(Ptolemy's) fortress] probably Gaza. 11. And he (Antiochus) shall set forth.. into his (Ptolemy's) hand] alluding to the battle of Raphia.

12. Refers to Ptolemy IV.

13, 14. Twelve years later Antiochus joined with Philip, king of Macedon, in an attack on Ptolemy V (Epiphanes), the son of Ptolemy IV.

13. After certain years] The actual interval was 12 years.

14. Many] referring to the Macedonian and other allies of Antiochus III. The robbers, etc.] RV 'the children of the violent among thy people.' The allusion seems to be to some faction among the Jews, which took the side of Syria, and thus helped indirectly to 'fulfil the vision' by establishing the power afterwards abused by Antiochus Epiphanes.

15, 16. Scopas, a general of Ptolemy V, was shut up by Antiochus III in Sidon, and compelled to surrender after a siege (198 b.c.) Antiochus then overran Palestine and menaced Egypt.

15. The most fenced cities] RV 'a well-fenced city,' Sidon.

16. He that cometh] Antiochus III. Against him] against Ptolemy V. The glorious land] Palestine: see Daniel 8:9. So in Daniel 11:41. Which.. consumed] RV 'and in his hand shall be destruction.'

17. Antiochus III now gave his daughter Cleopatra in marriage to Ptolemy V. And upright ones with him; thus shall he do] read, with LXX, 'but shall make an agreement with him' (Ptolemy V).

Corrupting her] better, 'to destroy it.' Antiochus in this alliance aimed at the ultimate conquest of Egypt.

18, 19. Antiochus III next overran Asia Minor and invaded Greece. This brought him into contact with the Romans, by whose general, Lucius Cornelius Scipio, he was defeated at Magnesia in Asia Minor. Three years later he was slain in Persia (187 b.c.).

18. The isles] RM 'coastlands,' the countries on the shore of the ægean Sea.

A prince for his own behalf] RM 'a captain,' the Roman general Scipio. Without his own reproach, etc.] RV 'Yea, moreover, he (Scipio) 'shall cause his reproach' (the insults of Antiochus to the Romans) 'to turn upon him.'

19. Fort (RV 'fortresses') of his own land] After his defeat at Magnesia Antiochus withdrew to Syria.

20. Antiochus III was succeeded by Seleucus IV (Philopator), who sent his chief minister Heliodorus to take possession of the Temple treasures at Jerusalem (2 Maccabees 3). Heliodorus murdered Seleucus IV and attempted to usurp the kingdom, but was dispossessed by Antiochus IV (Epiphanes), the brother of Seleucus.

Estate] RV 'place'—in place of Antiochus III. A raiser of taxes in] RV 'one' (Seleucus IV) 'that shall cause an exactor' (Heliodorus) 'to pass through.' The glory of the (Syrian) kingdom] Palestine: see Daniel 11:16.

21-45. Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) (176-164 b.c.).

21-24. general account of Antiochus, describing his accession, his deceitful policy, his hostility to the Jewish religion, his prosperity and his ambitious plans.

21. Vile] RV 'contemptible.' Shall not give] RV 'had not given.' Though Antiochus seized the kingdom, the real heir was Demetrius, the son of Seleucus IV: see on Daniel 7:24.

Peaceably] RV 'in time of security'; so in Daniel 11:24 : cp. Daniel 8:25.

22. They] the opponents of Antiochus. The prince of the covenant] the high priest Onias III, deposed by Antiochus in 175 b.c.: see on Daniel 9:26.

25-27. The first campaigns of Antiochus in Egypt. The king of Egypt was now Ptolemy VI (Philometor), the son of Ptolemy V and Cleopatra (see on Daniel 11:17), and thus the nephew Of Antiochus. In 170 b.c. Ptolemy was preparing to recover Palestine, but was attacked by Antiochus, who defeated and captured him. Physcon, the brother of Ptolemy VI, was proclaimed king by the Egyptians, and Antiochus in 169 b.c. again made war on Egypt, pretending to act in the interest of Ptolemy VI, whose friend he now appeared to be.

26. The defeat of Ptolemy VI in 170 b.c. is traced to the treachery of his subjects.

Overflow] rather, 'be swept away.'

27. Describes the friendship which was afterwards professed between Antiochus and Ptolemy, but which was insincere on both sides.

28. Returning from Egypt after his first campaign Antiochus heard of disturbances at Jerusalem, due to the struggles of two rivals for the office of high priest. He came to the city, slew many of the Jews, entered the Temple, and carried away the greater part of its sacred vessels and other treasures to Antioch (1 Maccabees 1:20-28; 2 Maccabees 5:11-16).

29, 30a. Another Egyptian campaign of Antiochus. This was caused by the news that Ptolemy VI and his brother Physcon had been reconciled. The Romans, however, interfered. Their legate Q. Popilius Lænas met Antiochus four miles from Alexandria and demanded the recall of his forces. When Antiochus said that he would take time to consider, the Roman legate drew a circle round him in the sand with his staff, and insisted on his replying before he should leave the spot. Antiochus then yielded and withdrew (168 b.c.).

29. As the former, etc.] RV 'in the latter time as it was in the former.'

30. Ships of Chittim] the Roman fleet. Chittim is Cyprus.

30b-35. The persecution of the Jews by Antiochus. After the failure of his Egyptian campaign he vented his disappointment and anger on the Jews, who resisted his attempts to introduce heathen worship among them (1 Maccabees 1:29-64). In particular he abolished the Temple sacrifices (1 Maccabees 1:45), and on the 15th of Chisleu (December), 168 b.c., he caused a small heathen altar to be set up on the great altar of burnt offering (1 Maccabees 1:54). This altar was used for sacrifice on the 25th of the same month (1 Maccabees 1:59). The severest measures were taken against those who adhered to the practices of the Jewish religion.

30. Intelligence with] RV 'regard unto.' Antiochus favoured the apostate Jews who supported his policy: see Daniel 9:27.

31. See Daniel 8:11, Daniel 8:13; Daniel 9:27.

32. The people, etc.] referring to the heroic resistance of the Jews, even to death (1 Maccabees 1:62-64).

33. Understand] RV 'be wise.' Similarly in Daniel 11:35 : see Daniel 12:3, Daniel 12:10.

34. A little help] the Maccabæan revolt (1 Maccabees 2-4). Many.. flatteries] The strict Jewish party had insincere adherents of its own.

35. The martyrs included leaders whose death tested and developed the faithfulness of their followers. The time of the end] see Daniel 8:17, Daniel 8:19; Daniel 9:26.

36-39. The blasphemous pride of Antiochus.

36. According to his will] like Alexander the Great (Daniel 8:4; Daniel 11:3) and Antiochus the Great (Daniel 11:16). And magnify himself, etc.] Antiochus IV called himself on his coins Basileus Antiochus Theos Epiphanes ('King Antiochus, God Manifest'). The indignation] of God against Israel: see Daniel 8:19. That that (RV 'which') is determined] see Daniel 9:27.

37. The God (RV 'gods') of his fathers] All the Greek kings of Syria were heathens, but Antiochus honoured the Greek Zeus (Jupiter) more than the Syrian deities of his forefathers. The desire of women] probably the Syrian god Thammuz, who was specially worshipped by women (Ezekiel 8:14)

38. In his estate (RV 'place')] instead of Thammuz. The God (RV 'god') of forces (RV 'fortresses')] probably Zeus (Jupiter), to whom Antiochus built a temple at Daphne near Antioch.

39. Whom he shall acknowledge, etc.] RV 'Whosoever acknowledgeth him he will increase.' Gain] RV 'a price.' Offices were disposed of for bribery.

40-43. A final Egyptian campaign of Antiochus. He invades Egypt with a great army and navy. Palestine is overrun and many countries are overthrown, but Edom, Moab, and Ammon escape. The treasures of Egypt are seized, and the conquest extends westwards to Libya and southwards to Ethiopia. Nothing is known of this expedition from contemporary historians.

40. At the time of the end] This expedition introduces the historical crisis which terminates Daniel's prospect of the future.

44, 45. The sudden end of Antiochus. He is recalled from Egypt by tidings of trouble in his Asiatic dominions, returns in anger and encamps between the Mediterranean and Jerusalem, and perishes helplessly. The death of Antiochus actually took place at Tabæ in Persia (164 b.c.). The vague account of his end is in striking contrast with the minute historical description of the rest of his reign, and suggests that the author is here writing of the future and not of the past. For the bearing of this on the date of the book see Intro.

45. Seas in] RV 'sea and.'

C.12. 1-4. These vv. describe the final tribulation of Israel which follows the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, the deliverance of the faithful Jews, the subsequent resurrection of the dead, both good and evil, and the glorious reward of the righteous, especially of their eminent leaders. The last-mentioned ideals are part of the Christian faith, but, in accordance with the limited view of all OT. prophecy, they are presented in connexion with the Jewish race, and without reference to their distance from the prophet's horizon.

1. Michael] see on Daniel 10:13, His intervention at this point indicates a special crisis in the fortunes of the Jews. The book] cp. Daniel 7:10.

2. Many] The resurrection contemplated is not universal, though it will include both the righteous and the wicked.

3. They that be wise] see Daniel 11:33, Daniel 11:35.

4. Knowledge] better, with LXX, 'evils.' The last half of the v. sums up the confusions and calamities of the long period which has been described, between Daniel's days and the 'time of the end.'

(c) Concluding Explanations (Daniel 12:5-13)

The angel who has spoken throughout the vision has now two companions, one on either side of the river. In reply to one of these he states that 'a time, times, and an half' shall elapse before the end to which the vision points. In answer to Daniel he explains that from the taking away of the daily sacrifice and the setting up of the abomination of desolation 1,290 days are first to be reckoned, and then 45 days more, making in all 1,335 days. The 1,290 days seem to correspond to the general distress under Antiochus Epiphanes, and the 45 days to the further period of tribulation spoken of in Daniel 12:1. As the author is here writing of the actual future no exact correspondence of these numbers with historical dates is to be looked for.

9. repeats Daniel 12:4, and

10. repeats Daniel 11:35.

10. The wise] RV 'they that be wise,' as in Daniel 11:33, Daniel 11:35; Daniel 12:3.

11. See Daniel 8:11, Daniel 8:13; Daniel 9:27; Daniel 11:31.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Daniel 10:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.

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Wednesday, June 28th, 2017
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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