Bible Commentaries

F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary

Daniel 10

Verses 1-21

AS WE COMMENCE reading chapter 10, we again find mention of 'weeks'. They are, however, to be distinguished from the 'weeks' we have just been considering, since a note in the margin of our Bibles indicates that in the Hebrew they are 'weeks of days'. For those weeks Daniel was mourning and fasting, though the reason for this is not stated.

At the end of chapter 1, we were told that Daniel continued to the first year of Cyrus: what we are about to consider occurred in the third year of Cyrus, so Daniel was now an old man and very near the end of his remarkable career. Our chapter furnishes us with details preparatory to the prophetic revelations made in Daniel 11:1-45 and Daniel 12:1-13. They are very instructive, as showing us the way in which angelic beings may act as 'ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation' (Hebrews 1:14).

Verses Daniel 10:5-9, describe the angelic visitation and the effect it had upon Daniel. We may remark that uniformly when angelic beings assume a form visible to human eyes, they appear as men. Nevertheless that which is supernatural marks them, reminding the one who sees them of the presence of God. It was so on this occasion, and the description given in verse Daniel 10:6 reminds us of John's description of his Lord, as recorded in Revelation 1:14, Revelation 1:15. Yet the angel here was not the Lord, as verse Daniel 10:13, we think, makes plain. Still it put Daniel on his face and prostrate.

There is also a resemblance between this scene and what took place at the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. Then his companions saw the light but did not hear the words that were spoken though they heard the sound. Here the men with him saw nothing but they were filled with trembling, and fled to hide themselves. Fallen man cannot stand in the presence of God, and even a saint — whether Daniel in the Old Testament or John in the New — falls down 'in a deep sleep', or 'as one dead'. We know God as our Father, but we must never forget His supreme majesty as God.

In the first year of Darius, Daniel was addressed as a man 'greatly beloved', as we saw in the last chapter. We have now come to the third year of Cyrus, and again he is thus addressed twice, showing he had not forfeited the earlier description. And why was this, seeing that so often saints backslide, and do not maintain the life of godliness? The answer, we think, is found in verse Daniel 10:12. In his devoted life Daniel had maintained two things.

In the first place he had set his heart to understand. How often is this lacking amongst us today! Is it our fervent desire to understand what God has revealed, not with the head only, but with the heart? Daniel loved his God, and loved his people, so that what God made known deeply affected him. If love were more fervent with us, we should be setting our hearts to understand the truth made known to us.

In the second place he 'chastened', or 'humbled' himself before God, while he sought the understanding. Here again we have to challenge ourselves. It is fatally easy to desire a large understanding of Divine truth because it confers a certain prominence and importance upon the person who possesses it. In reality all truth, if apprehended in the heart, humbles us. This is exemplified in the Apostle Paul. Writing of God's great thoughts as to the church in Ephesians 3:1-21, he is 'less than the least of all saints'. In 2 Corinthians 12:1-21, after telling how he had been caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable things, he says, 'though I be nothing'. Did we chasten ourselves more truly before God, we should soon have a larger understanding of His truth.

Verses Daniel 10:12-13 show that answers to our prayerful desires may be delayed by adverse powers in the unseen world. Satan has his angels, and it appears that some may be deputed by him to hinder God's work in certain kingdoms. The prince of the kingdom of Persia, who withstood the holy angel speaking to Daniel, was doubtless a fallen angelic being. Michael, elsewhere called the archangel, came to help him. The first verse of Daniel 12:1-13 shows us that Michael is specially commissioned to act on behalf of the children of Israel, and hence he intervened on this occasion. In the last verse of our chapter he is called, 'your prince'.

In the angelic world there was also 'the prince of Grecia', as verse Daniel 10:20 shows; but in spite of these adverse powers the messenger of God had come to Daniel, and lifting him up had strengthened him to receive the communication that God was now sending him. Conflict in the angelic realm had still to take place with the princes of Persia and Grecia — the empire that was presently to overthrow the Persian empire — but the instruction of this humble and devoted servant of God took precedence, as to time, over even that.

He had come to show Daniel, 'that which is noted in the Scripture of Truth'. He spoke as if it had already been so noted, but we may indeed thank God that it has been noted in the Bible — the Scripture of Truth — which we hold in our hand and can read today. What was thus conveyed to Daniel is noted in the chapters that follow, and as we read them we shall see that some things revealed have already taken place, and some remain to be fulfilled, as we have just seen in the prophecy of the seventy weeks. What has been so accurately fulfilled assures us that the important things, that remain to be fullfilled, will all take place with equal accuracy in their season.

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Bibliographical Information
Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on Daniel 10". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". 1947.