Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, July 14th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 10

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 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.

In the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia. — This whole chapter is but a preface to the ensuing prophecy, or visional prediction, recorded in the two following chapters. It beginneth at the third year of Cyrus’s empire, and reacheth till the time of the Jews rising from the dust of their dispersion, say some; to the end of the world, say others, with whom I concur.

A thing was revealed unto Daniel. — Who now must needs be very old, yet at those years (a hundred or more) gave himself to understand and search into divine secrets. The more any one knoweth of God, the more he would still know. Moses, newly come from the mount, crieth to God to show him his glory. David, that gulf of holy learning, is often at his, Teach me thy statutes, …

And the thing was true,i.e., Plain and proper; not, as former visions, figurative and obscure.

But the time appointed was long,scil., Till all be fulfilled, which will not be till the last judgment.

And he understood the thing. — And so was the better able to propound it to the Church; for what a man doth not himself understand, he cannot well and fitly deliver to others.

And had understood the vision,scil., Given unto him; for unless God give us both sight and light, we perceive not heavenly doctrine, neither indeed can do.

Verse 2

In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.

In those days I Daniel was mourning. — Though a great man still, and in great account, yet not now so great at court as to hinder and defeat the malicious designs of Cambyses’s counsellors; who, being bribed by the Jews’ adversaries, put a stop to the temple work at Jerusalem. Ezra 4:1-4 This disaster cast good Daniel into his dumps, so that he fasted three full weeks, a tanto et tali, sed non a toto, and longer might, had not the angel taken him off by an answer of peace. Daniel 10:12 Abstinet ab omni cura cultuque corporis, sua sponte. See the like, 1 Samuel 31:13 .

Three full weeks. — Heb., Weeks of days, to distinguish them from those seventy weeks of years. Daniel 9:24

Verse 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.

I ate no pleasant bread. — Bread he ate, for animantis cuiusque vita in fuga est, life will fail if not maintained by food, but coarse bread panem cibarium, atrum, et siligineum, and no more of that either than needs must. He voluntarily abridged himself of lawful delights, macerating and mortifying his flesh, that he might communicate with his poor afflicted brethren, and pray the harder for them. Fasting inflameth prayer, and prayer sanctifieth fasting.

Neither did I anoint myself at all. — All delights of sense must be laid aside in a time of solemn humiliation, but yet without annoyance and uncomeliness, as music, mirth, perfumes, brave apparel; 2 Samuel 12:20 John 3:8 Exodus 33:4-6 1 Kings 21:27 cheerfulness, outward joy, and pleasure ( Mark 2:20 Luke 5:35 cf. Matthew 9:15 Judges 20:26 1 Samuel 7:6 ). It is spoken of as a foul sin; Isaiah 58:3 , "Behold in the day of your fast ye find pleasure."

Verse 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;

And on the four and twentieth of the first month. — The day is thus noted, because the matters here revealed were most memorable.

As I was by the side of the great river. — Meditating likely, because the city was full of noise and tumult, and praying. as Acts 16:13 Broughton giveth this reason, because Seleucus Nicator, founder of the Seleucidae, much spoken of in the ensuing vision, built his chief city upon this river.

Which is Hiddekel,i.e., Sharp swift; called also Tigris, from the swiftest of all beasts, the tiger; but Curtius and Pliny Plin, lib. vi. cap. 7. say, that Tigris in the Median language signifieth an arrow. Here Daniel was personally present, and not visionally only. See Daniel 10:7 .

Verse 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 Uphaz:

Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, — viz., After my long fasting, praying, and meditating. So Moses and Elias, those great fasters, met together with our Saviour gloriously in the mount at his transfiguration. It is abstinence, not fulness, that makes a man capable of heavenly visions of divine glory.

Behold a certain man. — Heb., One man; a singular man, a glorious person; Messias the prince, described here by his habit and parts as a judge, say some, or as a priest, say others. See Daniel 12:6-7 Revelation 1:13-15 ; Revelation 10:5 .

Clothed in linen. — To show his innocence and purity, as also his righteousnesses, imputed and imparted, wherewith he clotheth his saints, Revelation 19:8 that fine white linen and shining.

Whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz. — Or, Of Ophir; Peru, haply, or Malaca, or Sopbala. This golden girdle about his loins denoteth Christ’s strength and alacrity. Psalms 93:1 Luke 17:8

Verse 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 colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.

His body also was like the beryl. — Of an azure colour, like the heavens. The "second Adam is the Lord from heaven." 1 Corinthians 15:47 Some render it the chrysolite, which is of the colour of the sea; to note, say they, his power to purge the Church by his Word, Spirit, and judgments, as by the water of the sea.

And his face as the appearance of lightning. — Which both shineth and terrifieth, and soon appeareth from the one end of the heaven to the other; Matthew 24:27 Christ suddenly discovereth all things though never so remote. Psalms 90:8 Ezekiel 1:13

And his eyes as lamps of fire. — To note his omniscience, his wrath also and readiness to revenge. Jeremiah 32:19

And his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass.Scintillantes purissime. To note his omnipotence in the execution of his wrath while he trampleth on his enemies, as he that hath brazen arms and feet cart easily break in pieces a potter’s vessel.

And the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.Strepitus - i.e., Maris. Or, As the noise of many waters, Revelation 1:15 noting the efficacy of Christ’s doctrine. See Acts 2:4 .

Verse 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.

And I Daniel alone saw the vision. — Holy prophets alone are capable of holy visions. 2 Peter 1:19

For the men that were with me saw not. — Sensible they were of some alteration upon the waters, and somewhat wrought upon; not for their information, but separation from Daniel, that he might more freely undergo the heavenly rapture. See the like, Acts 9:7 .

But a great quaking fell upon them. — Through sense of sin and fear of wrath. This served to show the truth of the vision.

Verse 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.

Therefore I was left alone. — Daniel, though much frightened, keepeth his station, when the rest fled and hid themselves. Good is the counsel of the apostle, Hebrews 12:13 , "Make straight steps unto your feet, lest that which is halting be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed."

For my comeliness, … — See Daniel 7:15 ; Daniel 7:28 ; Daniel 8:27 .

Verse 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.

Yet heard I the voice of his words. — What these words were is not here expressed; but by comparing, they may be gathered to be the same with those, Daniel 8:18 , bidding Gabriel to draw near and speak unto the prophet.

Then was I in a deep sleep. — See Daniel 8:18 . The more the outward man is bound, the fitter he is for holy communion with God. 2 Corinthians 12:2-3

Verse 10

And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and [upon] the palms of my hands.

And, behold, an hand touched me,i.e., The hand of the angel Gabriel, who was sent by Christ to dictate unto Daniel the prophecy following. It is Christ’s use to signify prophecies by his angel, Revelation 1:1-2 and this angel is accordingly strengthened by Michael Daniel 10:21 - that is, by Christ.

Which set me upon my knees. — In a praying posture; but yet he continued trembling, Daniel 10:11 and was not raised and restored but by certain degrees, the better to frame and fit him to a religious attention and docility.

Verse 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.

O Daniel, a man greatly beloved. — Such shall know God’s secrets. Proverbs 3:32 See Daniel 9:23 .

Stand upright. — Heb., Stand upon thy standing. God by his grace and Word will raise up those that humble themselves in his presence.

Deiecit ut relevet.

Verse 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.

Fear not, Daniel. — Disquieting and expectorating fears should be laid aside. 1 John 4:18

For from the first day. — See on Daniel 9:23 . Let us but find a praying heart, and God will presently find a pitying heart, though he may delay for a season to send in an answer. Though Daniel heard nothing of his prayers for three weeks’ time, yet was the angel at work all that while for the removal of impediments. Daniel in the meanwhile wrought hard with God, as it is elsewhere said of Jonathan. 1 Samuel 14:45

And I am come for thy word. — Brought hither by thy prayers. God will come, but he will have his people’s prayers lead him into the field as it were.

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.

But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me. — By this prince of Persia some understand wicked Cambyses. Others, Melanchthon, Osiander, Pappus. an evil angel, that by his suggestions swayed Cambyses to oppose and retard the rebuilding of the temple. There is a principal devil, prince of this world; and there are, as some hold, princes or principal spirits in countries and nations under him. Ephesians 6:12

But, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes,i.e., Christ the Lord of angels, head of the Church. Daniel 12:1-13 : 1 Kings 12:7 By these chief princes may be understood the three persons in trinity, or the created angels. The Septuagint translate the word ευσθυμουντων , the cheerful ones, who serve the Lord readily, freely, and joyfully in his wars; making Zion as dreadful to all her enemies, Psalms 68:17 as those angels once made Sinai, at the delivery of the law.

And I remained there with the kings of Persia. — With Cambyses and his counsellors, to repress their rage, and to blast their designs against the Church; which, when it is opposed, the holy angels interpose. Psalms 34:7

Verse 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.

Now I am come. — As it were with weariness of flight. as Daniel 9:21 Comfort will come at length. Hebrews 10:37

In the latter days. — Toward the end of their state, and not long before the coming of the Messiah, who shall begin another age, and as it were a new world. Ezekiel 38:8 Hebrews 2:3

Verse 15

And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.

I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.Coharrui totus, et vex faucibus haesit. See how deeply God’s darlings are again affected at the hearing of his holy Word. Habakkuk 3:16

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.

And, behold, one like the similitude,i.e., The angel in human shape. as Daniel 10:10

Touched my lips. — Restored unto me my speech. Good affections wanting expression shall have God’s furtherance.

And said unto him that stood before me,i.e., To Christ, whom he had seen. Daniel 10:5-6

My sorrows are turned upon me. — Heb., My bowels, which are even strained and straitened.

And I have retained no strength. — It is ordinary with God’s people in their prayers to complain much of their own weakness. Jeremiah 31:18

Verse 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.

For how can the servant of this my lord.Qui tantulus sum, et tam imbecillis. God’s praying servants use to speak as broken men. They well understand, (1.) Their distance; (2.) Dependence.

Talk with this my lord. — Prayer is a holy interparlance with the divine Majesty: εντευξις . 1 Timothy 2:1

Neither is there breath in me. — I am hardly able to bear up or breathe. Human frailty cannot endure God’s presence without fainting. Revelation 1:17

Verse 18

Then there came again and touched me [one] like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me,

Then there came again and touched me. — Not all at once, but by four degrees, was Daniel raised: (1.) He is set upon his knees and palms of his hands, Daniel 10:10 an emblem of prayer; (2.) He is caused to stand upon his feet, though trembling and silent; Daniel 10:11 ; Daniel 10:15 (3.) His mouth is opened to speak, though not without much weakness, fears, and sorrows; Daniel 10:17 (4.) He is fully strengthened here. God loves to hold his praying people long in request. He is also "a God of judgment" - one that well understandeth when and how to bestow his favours; "Blessed are all they that wait for him." Isaiah 30:18

Verse 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.

Be strong, yea, be strong. — Holy angels are ready to strengthen such as are ready to faint in holy duties.

Verse 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.

Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee?q.d., I told thee that before, Daniel 10:14 and I look thou shouldst remember it.

I will return to fight with the prince of Persia. — To defeat and prevent his tyranny and cruel intents against thy people, see Daniel 10:13 not without the devil’s hand and help.

And when I am gone forth,sc., Out of Persia.

Lo, the prince of Grecia. — Great Alexander, whom I will fetch in, so that the Persians shall have henceforth little leisure or mind to meddle with the Jews. There were other Grecian captains also before Alexander, who found the Persians somewhat to do, as Leonidas, Miltiades, Themistocles; but he overturned their monarchy.

Verse 21

But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and [there is] none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.

In the scripture of truth,i.e., In God’s infallible and unchangeable decree, which, for our apprehension, are here compared to court rolls and records, ex usu forensi. And God’s providence, which is nothing else but the carrying on of his decree, is that helm which turneth about the whole ship of the universe.

And there is none … but Michael your prince. — But how many reckon we him at? as that king once said of himself to his fearful soldiers. He alone is a whole army of men, van and rear both. Isaiah 52:12

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Daniel 10". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/daniel-10.html. 1865-1868.
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