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The Revelation Regarding the Affliction of the People of God on the Part of the Rulers of the World Till the Consummation of the Kingdom of God - Daniel 10-12
In the third year of the reign of Cyrus, Daniel received the last revelation regarding the future of his people, which gives a fuller unfolding of the hostile attitude of the world-power toward the people and the kingdom of God from the time of the Persian dominion to the end of the days, as well as regarding the powerful protection which the covenant people shall experience amid the severe oppressions they would be exposed to for their purification. This revelation connects itself, both as to its contents and form, so closely with Daniel 8, that it is to be viewed as a further unfolding of that prophecy, and serves for the illustration and confirmation of that which was announced to the prophet shortly before the destruction of the Chaldean world-kingdom regarding the world-kingdoms that were to follow, and their relation to the theocracy. It consists of three parts: - (1.) There is the description of the appearance of God as to its nature, the impression it produced on the prophet, and its object (Daniel 10:1-11:2 a). (2.) The unveiling of the future, in brief statements regarding the relation of the Persian and the Javanic world-kingdoms to Israel, and in more comprehensive descriptions of the wars of the kings of the north and the south for the supremacy, with the hostilities thence arising against the kingdom of God - hostilities which aim at its destruction, but which, because of the powerful succour which is rendered to Israel by Michael the angel-prince, shall come to an end in the destruction of the enemy of God and the final salvation of the people of God (Daniel 11:2 b -12:3). (3.) This revelation concludes with the definition of the duration of the time of oppression, and with the command given to Daniel to seal up the words, together with the prophecy, till the time of the end, and to rest till the end come: “For thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days” (Daniel 12:4-1 Chronicles :).
If we attentively examine first of all the form of this revelation, namely, the manifestation of God, by which there is given to Daniel the understanding of the events of the future (Daniel 10:14, cf. Daniel 11 and Daniel 12:1-1 Chronicles :), this revelation will be found to be distinguished from all the others in this, that it is communicated partly by supernatural illumination for the interpretation of the dream-vision, partly by visions, partly by the appearance of angels. Auberlen ( d. Proph. Daniel p. 91f.) has already referred to this distinction, and therein has found a beautiful and noteworthy progression, namely, that the one revelation always prepares the way, in a material and formal respect, for that which follows, from which we may see how God gradually prepared the prophet for the reception of still more definite disclosures. “First Nebuchadnezzar dreams, and Daniel simply interprets (Daniel 2 and 4); afterwards Daniel himself has a dream, but as yet it is only as a vision in a dream of the night (Daniel 7:1-Exodus :); then follows a vision in a waking state (Daniel 8:1-Leviticus :); and finally, in the last two revelations (Daniel 9 and 10-12), when Daniel, now a feeble, trembling (?) old man (Daniel 10:8.), is already almost transplanted out of this world - now the ecstatic state seems to be no longer necessary for him. Now in his usual state he sees and hears angels speak like men, while his companions do not see the appearances from the higher world, and are only overwhelmed with terror, like those who accompanied Paul to Damascus (Daniel 9:20., Daniel 10:4., cf. Acts of Ap. Acts 9:7).” It is true, indeed, that, as Aub. remarks, there is a progression from interpreting of dreams to the receiving of visions in dreams and in the waking state, but by this reference neither are the actual contents of the revelation given in different forms perfectly comprehended, nor still less is the meaning of the difference made clear. Auberlen, in thus representing the distinction, has left out of view the circumstance, that the visions in Daniel 7 and 8 are also interpreted to Daniel by an angel; moreover, that the revelation in Daniel 8 does not merely consist of a vision, in which Daniel sees the destruction of the Persian world-kingdom by the Javanic under the figure of a he-goat casting down the ram, but that Daniel, after this vision, also hears an angel speak, and a voice comes to him from above the waters of the Ulai which commands the angel Gabriel to explain the vision to the seer (Daniel 8:13.), and that this second part of that revelation has a great likeness to that in Daniel 10-12; finally, that the same angel Gabriel again appears in Daniel 9, and brings to Daniel the revelation regarding the seventy weeks (Daniel 9:24-:). But as to the interpretation of these revelations given in different forms, this difference is conditioned partly by the subjective relations sustained by the recipients to God, while, on the other hand, the form is in the most intimate manner connected with the contents of the revelation, and indeed in a way wholly different and much deeper than Auberlen thinks, if he therein sees only the material progression to greater speciality in the prophecy.
To comprehend the meaning of the divine revelation in Daniel 10-12, we must examine more closely the resemblance which it presents to Daniel 8:13-Psalms :. As in the vision Daniel 8, which points to the oppression of the time of the end (Daniel 8:17, Daniel 8:19), Daniel heard a voice from the Ulai (Daniel 8:16), so in Daniel 10 and Daniel 12:1-1 Chronicles : the personage from whom that voice proceeded appears within the circle of Daniel's vision, and announces to him what shall happen to his people הימים בּאחרית (Daniel 10:14). This celestial person appears to him in such awful divine majesty, that he falls to the ground on hearing his voice, as already in Daniel 8:17. on hearing his voice and message, so that he feared he should perish; and it was only by repeated supernatural consolation and strengthening that he was able to stand erect again, and was made capable of hearing the revelation. The heavenly being who appears to him resembles in appearance the glory of Jehovah which Ezekiel had seen by the river Chaboras (Chebar); and this appearance of the man clothed in linen prepared the contents of his revelation, for God so manifested Himself to Daniel (as He will approve Himself to His people in the times of the future great tribulation) as He who in judgment and in righteousness rules the affairs of the world-kingdoms and of the kingdom of God, and conducts them to the issues foreseen; so that the effect of His appearance on Daniel formed a pre-intimation and a pledge of that which would happen to the people of Daniel in the future. As Daniel was thrown to the ground by the divine majesty of the man clothed in linen, but was raised up again by a supernatural hand, so shall the people of God be thrown to the ground by the fearful judgments that shall pass over them, but shall again be raised up by the all-powerful help of their God and His angel-prince Michael, and shall be strengthened to endure the tribulation. According to this, the very appearance of God has prophetic significance; and the reason why this last vision is communicated to Daniel neither by a vision nor by angels, but by a majestic Theophany, does not lie in the more definite disclosures which should be given to him regarding the future, but only in this, that the revelation, as is mentioned in the superscription, Daniel 10:1, places in view the גּדול וצבא אמת (Daniel 10:1).
Of this oppression, that spoken of in Daniel 8, which should come upon the people of God from the fierce and cunning king seen as a little horn, forms a type; therefore Daniel hears the voice from the waters of the Ulai. That which is there briefly indicated, is in Daniel 10-12 further extended and completed. In regard to the definiteness of the prediction, the revelation in Daniel 10-12 does not go beyond that in Daniel 8; but it does so with respect to the detailed description found in it of the wars of the world-rulers against one another and against the people of God, as well as in this, that it opens a glimpse into the spirit-world, and gives disclosures regarding the unseen spiritual powers who mingle in the history of nations. But over these powers God the Lord exercises dominion, and helps His people to obtain a victory over all their enemies. To reveal this, and in actual fact to attest it to the prophet, and through him to the church of God of all times, is the object of the Theophany, which is circumstantially described in Daniel 10 for the sake of its prophetical character.
The Theophany - Daniel 10-11:2a
The Introduction to the Following Manifestation of God - Daniel 10:1-Leviticus :
This verse is to be regarded as an inscription or general statement of the substance of it. Therefore Daniel speaks of himself in the third person, as in Daniel 7:1, and in the historical portions Daniel 1-6. The definition of the time, “In the first year of Cores (Cyrus) king of Persia,” refers us back to Daniel 1:21, but it does not, as has been there already remarked, stand in contradiction to the first year of Cyrus named there. דּבר is the following revelation, which was communicated to the prophet not by a vision ( חזון ), but by a manifestation of God ( מראה ), and was given in the form of simple human discourse. The remark regarding Daniel, “whose name was Belteshazzar,” is designed only to make it obvious that the Daniel of the third year of Cyrus was the same who was carried by Babylon in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar (seventy-two years before). To the question why Daniel did not return to his native land in the first year of Cyrus, which Hitzig has thus formulated for the purpose of framing an argument against the genuineness of this prophecy - ”How could he, who was a pattern of piety (Daniel 1:8; Ezekiel 14:14), so disregard the opportunity that was offered and the summons of Isaiah (Isaiah 48:20; Isaiah 52:11.) as if he stood on the side of those who forgot the holy mountain?” (Isaiah 65:11) - the supposition of his advanced old age (Häv.) is no sufficient answer. For, on the contrary, Hitzig has rightly replied that old men also, such as had even seen the former temple, had returned home (Ezra 3:12), and Daniel was not so infirm as to be unable for the journey. The correct answer is rather this, that Daniel, because divine revelations had been communicated to him, had obtained a position at the court of the world-rulers in which he was able to do much for the good of his people, and might not, without a special divine injunction, leave this place; that he thus, not from indifference toward the holy mountain or from neglect of the injunctions to flee from Babylon (Isaiah 48:20; Isaiah 52:11.), but from obedience to God, and for the furtherance of the cause of His kingdom, remained at his post till the Lord His God should call him away from it.
In the second hemistich the contents of this new divine revelation are characterized. הדּבר with the article points back to דּבר in the first half of the verse. Of this “word” Daniel says that it contains אמת and גּדול צבא . In the statement that “the thing was true,” Hitzig finds an intimation that thereby the author betrays his standpoint, namely, the time when “the thing” was realized, for Daniel could not say this before it happened. But this objection supposes that the author was a lying prophet, who spoke from his own heart (Jeremiah 29:8, Jeremiah 29:15). But if Daniel had actually received a “word” from God, he could before its fulfilment testify its truth. The testimony to the truth of the word here indicates, as it does in Daniel 8:26 in the mouth of the angel, that the word of God now communicated to the prophet contained things which it would be difficult for the human heart to believe. The second predicate גּדול צבא shows in what respect this is so. For that these words do not, with the lxx and Aquil., refer to what follows is obvious, as is acknowledged by all modern interpreters. צבא , warfare, military service, then the difficulty of this service, and figuratively difficulty, afflictions of life, Job 7:1; Job 10:17, and also here. “The word is, i.e., concerns, has as its contents, great afflictions” [E.V. “the time appointed was long”].
In the last clause of this verse בּין and בינה are not the imperative (v. Lengerke), because a summons to give heed, or understand, would not be here in place. בינה is a substantive, and the throwing of the accent on the penultima is occasioned by the accented לו which follows. בּין is the 3rd pers. perf., not the infinitive (Häv.). Understanding was to him בּמּראה , by that which was seen, i.e., by the appearance described in Daniel 10:5. בּמּראה cannot at all be referred (Klief.) to the earlier prophecies of Daniel 8:7, Daniel 8:9. The statement in these two passages serves for the confirmation of that which was said regarding the contents of the word from God, and stands in relation to Daniel 8:27, where Daniel was troubled because no one understood the vision. He was helped out of this state of non-understanding by the following revelation, cf. Daniel 10:14. But the objection that it cannot be here said that Daniel understood the word, because he himself, Daniel 12:8, says that he did not understand it, has been disposed of by Kliefoth, who justly remarks that the non-understanding in Daniel 12:8 regards a single point, namely, the duration of the affliction, regarding which, however, disclosures are given to the prophet in Daniel 12:10. The translation: “he heard the word, and understood the vision” (Kran.), is set aside by this circumstance, that it takes בּין in a different sense from בינה , contrary to the parallelism of the passages.
Daniel 10:2, Daniel 10:3 introduce the following revelation by a statement of the occasion of it. ההם בּימים refers back to the date named in Daniel 10:1. The ימים after שׁבעים does not serve to designate the three weeks as common day-weeks, in contrast to the שׁבעים of Daniel 9:24., but is an accusative subordinated to the definition of time which expresses the idea of continuance: three weeks long, or three whole weeks, as Genesis 41:1; cf. Gesen. Gramm. §118, 3. For three weeks Daniel mourned and fasted, i.e., abstained from the usual food. חמות לחם , precious food, delicacies; but Häv., v. Leng., Maur., Hitz., and Kran. interpret it of leavened bread, so called in contrast to the unleavened paschal bread, the bread of affliction (Deuteronomy 16:3). But this contrast is not well founded, for the מצּות ( unleavened cakes) of the passover was not (notwithstanding Deuteronomy 16:3) bread of sorrow, but pure, holy bread, which Daniel did not eat, in opposition to the law, for three weeks. לחם is not to be limited to bread in its narrower sense, but denotes food generally. Flesh and wine are festival food, Isaiah 22:13; Genesis 27:25, which is not had every day. The anointing with oil was the sign of joy and of a joyous frame of mind, as with guests at a banquet, Amos 6:6, and was intermitted in the time of sorrow; cf. 2 Samuel 14:2. Fasting, as an abstaining from the better sustenance of common life, was the outward sign of sorrow of soul.
According to Daniel 10:4, Daniel mourned and fasted in the first month of the year, the month in the middle of which the paschal feast was kept, in which Israel celebrated their deliverance from their state of slavery in Egypt and their advancement to be the people of God, and were joyful before their God. On the 24th day of this month occurred the Theophany (Daniel 10:4.), with which, however, his fasting came to an end. According to this, it appears that he fasted from the third to the twenty-third of the month Nisan; thus it began immediately after the feast of the new moon, which was kept for two days (cf. 1 Samuel 20:18., 27, 34 with 6:29; Daniel 2:19). Thus Häv. and Hitzig conclude; while v. Leng. and Maurer argue, from Daniel 10:13, that between the time of fasting and the appearance of the angel an interval elapsed, consequently that Daniel fasted from the first to the twenty-first of the month Nisan. But from Daniel 10:13 nothing further follows than that the angel was detained twenty-one days; so that the question as to the beginning and the end of the fast is not certainly answered from the text, and, as being irrelevant to the matter, it can remain undecided. More important is the question as to the cause of such long-continued great sorrow, which is not answered by the remark that he was thus prepared for receiving a divine revelation. According to Daniel 10:12, Daniel sought הבּין , i.e., understanding as to the state of the matter, or regarding the future of his people, which filled him with concern. The word about the restoration of Jerusalem which he had received through the angel Gabriel in the first year of Darius (Daniel 9) had come to pass since that revelation in the first year of Cyrus, but had had only little effect on the religious lukewarmness of the majority of the people. Of the whole people only a very small portion had returned to the land of their fathers, and had begun, after restoring the altar of burnt-offering, to build the house of God in Jerusalem. But while the foundation of the new temple was laid, there mingled with the joyful shoutings of the people also the loud wailings of the old men who had seen the former temple in its glory, when they beheld this building undertaken amid circumstances so depressing and sorrowful (Ezra 3:1-1 Chronicles :). In addition to this, the Samaritans immediately, when the Jewish rulers refused for conscience sake to permit them to take part with them in the building, sought, by means of influences used at the Persian court, to prevent the carrying on of the building (Ezra 4:1-Deuteronomy :). This sad state of matters could not but, at the beginning of the new year, fill the heart of Daniel with deep sorrow, and move him at the return of the time of the passover to mourn in fasting and prayer over the delay of the salvation promised to his people, and to supplicate in behalf of Israel the pardon of their sins, and their deliverance out of the hand of their enemies. Therefore he mourned and fasted before and during the paschal days for three weeks, until on the twenty-fourth day of the month he received a revelation from God.
The Theophany. - On the day named Daniel found himself on the side (banks) of the river Hiddekel, i.e., the Tigris (see under Genesis 2:14), along with some who accompanied him (Daniel 10:7); thus he was there in reality, and not merely in vision as at the Ulai, Daniel 8:2. For what purpose he was there is not said. Here he saw a celestial being, whose form is described, Daniel 10:5, Daniel 10:6. It was a man ( אחד , one, not several) clothed in בּדּים , i.e., in a talar of shining white linen (regarding בּדּים , see under Ezekiel 9:2), and his loins girt about with gold of Uphaz. אוּפז occurs nowhere else, except in Jeremiah 10:9: gold of Uphaz and silver of Tarshish, from which we must conclude that Uphaz is the name of a region, a country, probably only a dialectically different form for אופיר ; the combination with the Sanscr. vipâça - Hyphasis is, on the other hand, very far-fetched.
His body shone like תּרשׁישׁ , i.e., the chrysolite of the Old and the topaz of the New Testament (see under Ezekiel 1:16); his countenance had the appearance of lightning, his eyes as lamps of fire, his arms and the place of his feet like the sight of polished brass ( קלל , see under Ezekiel 1:7). מרגּלות , place of the feet, does not stand for feet, but denotes that part of the human frame where the feet are; and the word indicates that not the feet alone, but the under parts of the body shone like burnished brass. The voice of his words, i.e., the sound of his speaking, was like המון קול , for which in Ezekiel 1:24 המלּה קול ( the voice of noise), and by מחנה קול (Ezekiel 1:24) the noise of a host is denoted.
This heavenly form has thus, it is true, the shining white talar common to the angel, Ezekiel 9:9, but all the other features, as here described - the shining of his body, the brightness of his countenance, his eyes like a lamp of fire, arms and feet like glistering brass, the sound of his speaking-all these point to the revelation of the יהוה כּבוד , the glorious appearance of the Lord, Ezekiel 1, and teach us that the אישׁ seen by Daniel was no common angel-prince, but a manifestation of Jehovah, i.e., the Logos. This is placed beyond a doubt by a comparison with Revelation 1:13-Ezra :, where the form of the Son of man whom John saw walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks is described like the glorious appearance seen by Ezekiel and Daniel.
The place where this heavenly being was, is not here specially stated. In Daniel 12:6 he appears hovering over the waters of the river, the Tigris. This agrees also with the verse before us, according to which Daniel, while standing on the banks of the river, on lifting up his eyes beheld the vision. Hence it further follows, that the אישׁ seen here by Daniel is the same heavenly being whose voice he heard, Daniel 8:16, from the waters of the Ulai, without seeing his form.
When now he whose voice Daniel heard from thence presents himself before him here on the Tigris in a majesty which human nature is not able to endure, and announces to him the future, and finally, Daniel 12:6., with a solemn oath attests the completion of the divine counsel, he thereby shows himself, as C. B. Michaelis ad Daniel p. 372, Schmieder in Gerlach's Bibelw., and Oehler (Art. Messias in Herz.'s Realenc. ix. p. 417) have acknowledged, to be the Angel of Jehovah κατ ̓ἐξοχὴν , as the “Angel of His presence.” The combination of this angel with that in the form of a son of man appearing in the clouds (Daniel 7:13) is natural; and this combination is placed beyond a doubt by the comparison with Revelation 1:13, where John sees the glorified Christ, who is described by a name definitely referring to Daniel 7:13, as ὅμοιον υἱῷ ἀνθρώπου .
On the other hand, the opinion maintained to some extent among the Rabbis, which even Hengstenberg has in modern times advocated ( Beitr. i. p. 165ff.; Christol. iii. 2, p. 50ff.), namely, that the angel of the Lord who here appears to Daniel in divine majesty is identical with the angel-prince Michael, has no support in Scripture, and stands in contradiction to Daniel 10:13, Daniel 10:21, where he who speaks is certainly distinguished from Michael, for here there is ascribed to Michael a position with reference to the people of God which is not appropriate to the Angel of the Lord or the Logos. It is true, indeed, that Hengstenberg holds, with many old interpreters, that he who speaks with Daniel, Daniel 10:11, and reveals to him the future, is different from him who appears to him, Daniel 10:5, Daniel 10:6, and is identical with the angel Gabriel. But the reasons advanced in support of this are not sufficient. The latter supposition is grounded partly on the similarity of the address to Daniel, חמות אישׁ , Daniel 10:11, Daniel 10:19, cf. with Daniel 9:23, partly on the similarity of the circumstances, Daniel 8:17-Job :, cf. with Daniel 10:10 and Daniel 12:5. But the address to Daniel חמות אישׁ proves nothing, because it does not express to Daniel the relation of the angel to him, but of the Lord who sent the angel; and Gabriel in Daniel 9:23 does not address the prophet thus, but only says that he is המדות , i.e., a man greatly beloved of God. The similarity of circumstances with Daniel 8:17-Job : proves nothing further than that he who appeared was a heavenly being. More noticeable is the similarity of Daniel 8:13 with Daniel 12:5, so far as in both cases two angels appear along with him who hovers over the waters, and the voice from above the waters in Daniel 8:16 directs the angel Gabriel to explain the vision to the prophet. But from the circumstance that in Daniel 8 and also in Daniel 9 Gabriel gives to the prophet disclosures regarding the future, it by no means follows, even on the supposition that he who is represented in the chapter before us as speaking is different from him who appears in Daniel 10:5, Daniel 10:6, that the angel who speaks is Gabriel. If he were Gabriel, he would have been named here, according to the analogy of Daniel 10:9, Daniel 10:21.
To this is to be added, that the assumed difference between him who speaks, Daniel 10:11, and him who appears, Daniel 10:5, Daniel 10:6, is not made out, nor yet is it on the whole demonstrable. It is true that in favour of this difference, he who speaks is on the banks of the river where Daniel stands, while he who appears, vv. 5, 6, and also at the end of the vision, Daniel 12:1-1 Chronicles :, is in the midst of the Tigris, and in Daniel 10:5 of this chapter (Daniel 12:1-1 Chronicles :) two other persons are standing on the two banks of the river, one of whom asks him who is clothed with linen, as if in the name of Daniel, when the things announced shall happen. Now if we assume that he who is clothed in linen is no other than he who speaks to Daniel, v. 11, then one of these two persons becomes a κωφὸν πρόσωπον , and it cannot be at all seen for what purpose he appears. If, on the contrary, the difference of the two is assumed, then each has his own function. The Angel of the Lord is present in silent majesty, and only by a brief sentence confirms the words of his messenger (Daniel 12:7). The one of those standing on the banks is he who, as the messenger and interpreter of the Angel of the Lord, had communicated all disclosures regarding the future to Daniel as he stood by the banks. The third, the angel standing on the farther bank, directs the question regarding the duration of the time to the Angel of the Lord. Thus Hengstenberg is in harmony with C. B. Michaelis and others.
But however important these reasons for the difference appears, yet we cannot regard them as conclusive. From the circumstance that, Daniel 10:10, a hand touched Daniel as he was sinking down in weakness and set him on his knees, it does not with certainty follow that this was the hand of the angel (Gabriel) who stood by Daniel, who spoke to him, Daniel 10:11. The words of the text, “a hand touched me,” leave the person whose hand it was altogether undefined; and also in Daniel 10:16, Daniel 10:18, where Daniel is again touched, so that he was able to open his mouth and was made capable of hearing the words that were addressed to him, the person from whom the touch proceeded is altogether indefinite. The designations, אדם בּני כּדּמוּת , like the similitude of the sons of men, Daniel 10:16, and אדם כּמראה , like the appearance of a man, Daniel 10:18, do not point to a definite angel who appears speaking in the sequel. But the circumstance that in Daniel 12:1-1 Chronicles :, besides the form that hovered over the water, other two angels appear on the banks, does not warrant us to assume that these two angels were already present or visible in Daniel 10:5. The words, “Then I looked and saw other two, the one,” etc., Daniel 12:5, much rather indicate that the scene was changed, that Daniel now for the first time saw the two angels on the banks. In Daniel 10 he only sees him who is clothed with linen, and was so terrified by this “great sight” that he fell powerless to the ground on hearing his voice, and was only able to stand up after a hand had touched him and a comforting word had been spoken to him. Nothing is here, as in Daniel 8:15, said of the coming of the angel. If thus, after mention being made of the hand which by touching him set him on his knees, it is further said, “and he spake to me ... “ (Daniel 10:11), the context only leads to this conclusion, that he who spake to him was the man whose appearance and words had so overwhelmed him. To suppose another person, or an angel different from the one who was clothed with linen, as speaking, could only be justified if the contents of that which was spoken demanded such a supposition.
He who spake said, among other things, that he was sent to Daniel (Daniel 10:11); that the prince of the kingdom of Persia had withstood him one and twenty days; and that Michael, one of the chief angel-princes, had come to his help (Daniel 10:13, Daniel 10:21). These statements do not indicate that he was an inferior angel, but they are suitable to the Angel of the Lord; for he also says (Zechariah 2:13, 15; Zechariah 4:9) that he is sent by Jehovah; cf. also Isaiah 48:16 and Isaiah 61:1. The coming to his help by the angel-prince Michael, also, does not denote that he who speaks was an angel subordinated to the archangel Michael. In Zechariah 1:15 עזר denotes help which men render to God; and in 1 Chronicles 12:21. it is related that Israelites of different tribes came to David to help him against his enemies, i.e., under his leadership to fight for him. Similarly we may suppose that the angel Michael gave help to the Angel of the Lord against the prince of the kingdom of Persia.
There thus remains only the objection, that if we take the angel clothed with linen and him who speaks as the same, then in Daniel 12:5 one of the angels who stood on the two banks of the Tigris becomes a κωφὸν πρόσωπον ; but if we are not able to declare the object for which two angels appear there, yet the one of those two angels cannot certainly be the same as he who announced, Daniel 10 and 11, the future to the prophet, because these angels are expressly designated as two others ( אהרים שׁנים ), and the אהרים excludes the identifying of these with angels that previously appeared to Daniel. This argument is not set aside by the reply that the angels standing on the two banks of the river are spoken of as אהרים with reference to the Angel of the Lord, Daniel 10:6, for the reference of the אהרים to that which follows is inconsistent with the context; see under Daniel 12:5.
Thus every argument utterly fails that has been adduced in favour of the supposition that he who speaks, Daniel 10:11, is different from him who is clothed in linen; and we are warranted to abide by the words of the narrative, which in Daniel 10 names no other angel than the man clothed with linen, who must on that account be the same as he who speaks and announces the future to the prophet. The hand which again set him up by touching him, is, it is true, to be thought of as proceeding from an angel; but it is not more definitely described, because this angel is not further noticed. But after the man clothed with linen has announced the future to the prophet, the scene changes (Daniel 12:5). Daniel sees the same angels over the waters of the Tigris, and standing on the two banks of the river. Where he who was clothed in linen stands, is left indefinite in the narrative. If from the first it is he who hovers over the water of the river, he could yet talk with the prophet standing on its banks. But it is also possible that at first he was visible close beside the banks.
According to this verse, the form described in Daniel 10:5 and Daniel 10:6 was visible to Daniel alone. His companions saw not the appearance, but they were so alarmed by the invisible nearness of the heavenly being that they fled and hid themselves. What is here said resembles Acts 9:3., where Christ, after His exaltation, appeared to Paul and spoke to him - Paul's companions hearing only the voice, but seeing no one. In order to account for the flight of Daniel's companions, it is not necessary to suppose the existence of thunder and lightning, of which the text makes no mention. The supposition also of Theodor. and Hitzig, that the men indeed saw not the angel, but that they heard his voice, is incorrect; for the voice was not heard till after his companions had fled. המּראה , pointed as fem., that which was seen, the appearance, seems to be a more limited conception than מראה , visio. בּהחבא יברחוּ : they fled, for they hid themselves; so that the hiding is not to be regarded as the object of the fleeing, but the fleeing is made known in their hiding themselves.
Daniel here calls the appearance great with reference to the majesty displayed, such as had never hitherto been known to him. Its influence upon him is, therefore, also greater than that of the appearance of Gabriel, Daniel 8:17. There remained in him no strength, i.e., he felt himself overwhelmed, and as if about to perish. His הוד , splendour - the same as the Chald. זיו , Daniel 7:28; Daniel 5:6, Daniel 5:9 - i.e., the fresh colour of life which marked his countenance, was changed למשׁחית , properly, to destruction, to entire disfigurement, to corruption. The last clause, “and I retained no strength,” gives greater force to the preceding statement.
When Daniel heard the voice, which according to v. 6 was like the noise of a multitude, he was stunned, and fell on his face to the ground, as Daniel 8:17. Yet the expression here, נרדּם הייתי , is stronger than נבעתּי , Daniel 8:17. Daniel 10:10 shows how great was his amazement in the further description it gives. The touching of him by an unseen hand raised him up and caused him to reel on his knees and hands ( תּניעני , vacillare me fecit ), but did not enable him to stand erect. This he was first able to do after he heard the comfortable words, and was directed to mark the communication of the heavenly messenger. Regarding חמות אישׁ see under Daniel 9:23, and for עמדך על עמד see at Daniel 8:18. He now raises himself up, but still trembling ( מרעיד ). The עתּה now am I sent to thee, points to the delay of his coming spoken of in Daniel 10:12.
According to this verse, the words of Daniel, i.e., his prayer from the first day of his seeking to understand the future, and of his self-mortification in sorrow and fasting (Daniel 10:2, Daniel 10:3), was heard of God, and the angel was immediately sent forth by God to convey to him revelations. And, he adds, בּדבריך בּאתי , I am come for thy words, i.e., in consequence of thy prayer, according to it. The בּאתי most interpreters understand of the coming to Daniel; Hofmann ( Schriftbew. i. p. 331) and Kliefoth, on the contrary, understand it of the coming of the angel to Persia (Daniel 10:13). According to the matter, both views are correct, but in the form in which they are presented they are incorrect. Against the latter stands the adversative ו in ושׂר ( but the prince), Daniel 10:13, by which the contents of Daniel 10:13 are introduced; for, according to this, Daniel 10:13 cannot represent the object of the coming. Against the former stands the fact, that the angel does not come to Daniel immediately, but only after having gained a victory over the prince of the kingdom. The בּאתי is again taken up in Daniel 10:14, and must have here the same meaning that it has there. But in Daniel 10:14 it is connected with להבינך , “I am come to bring thee understanding,” in Daniel 10:12 with בּדבריך , which only denotes that the “coming” corresponded to Daniel's prayer, but not that he came immediately to him. Daniel had, without doubt, prayed for the accomplishment of the salvation promised to his people, and eo ipso for the removal of all the hindrances that stood in the way of that accomplishment. The hearing of his prayer may be regarded, therefore, as containing in it not merely the fact that God directed an angel to convey to him disclosures regarding the future fortunes of his people, but also at the same time as implying that on the side of God steps were taken for the removal of these hindrances.
The thirteenth verse speaks of this, not as denoting that the angel came to Persia for the purpose of working for Israel, but much rather as announcing the reason of the twenty-one days' delay in the coming of the angel to Daniel, in the form of a parenthetical clause. His coming to Daniel was hindered by this, that the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood him twenty-one days. The twenty-one days are those three weeks of Daniel's fasting and prayer, Daniel 10:2. Hence we see that the coming of the angel had its reference to Daniel, for he came to bring him a comforting answer from God; but in order that he might be able to do this, he must first, according to Daniel 10:13, enter into war with and overcome the spirit of the king of Persia, hostile to the people of God. The contents of Daniel 10:13 are hence not to be understood as showing that the angel went to Persia in order that he might there arrange the cause of Israel with the king; the verse much rather speaks of a war in the kingdom of the supernatural spirits, which could not relate to the court of the king of Persia. The prince ( שׂר ) of the kingdom of Persia, briefly designated in Daniel 10:21 “the prince of Persia,” is not king Cyrus, or the collectivum of the kings of Persia, as Häv. and Kran., with Calvin and most of the Reformers, think, but the guardian spirit or the protecting genius of the Persian kingdom, as the Rabbis and most of the Christian interpreters have rightly acknowledged. For the angel that appeared to Daniel did not fight with the kings of Persia, but with a spiritual intelligence of a like nature, for the victory, or precedence with the kings of Persia. This spirit of the kingdom of Persia, whom, after the example of Jerome, almost all interpreters call the guardian angel of his kingdom, is as little the nature-power of this kingdom as Michael is the nature-power of Israel, but is a spirit-being; yet not the heathen national god of the Persians, but, according to the view of Scripture (1 Corinthians 10:20.), the δαιμόνιον of the Persian kingdom, i.e., the supernatural spiritual power standing behind the national gods, which we may properly call the guardian spirit of this kingdom. In the לנגדּי עמד lies, according to the excellent remark of Kliefoth, the idea, that “the שׂר of the kingdom of Persian stood beside the kings of the Persians to influence them against Israel, and to direct against Israel the power lying in Persian heathendom, so as to support the insinuations of the Samaritans; that the angel, Daniel 10:5, came on account of Daniel's prayer to dislodge this 'prince' from his position and deprive him of his influence, but he kept his place for twenty-one days, till Michael came to his help; then he so gained the mastery over him, that he now stood in his place beside the kings of Persia, so as henceforth to influence them in favour of Israel.” He who appeared to Daniel, Daniel 10:5, and spake with him, Daniel 10:11, is not “the angel who had his dominion among the nations of the world,” or “his sphere of action in the embodiments of the heathen world-power, to which the Jewish people were now in subjection, to promote therein the working out of God's plan of salvation” (Hofm. Schriftbew. i. p. 334). This supposition is destitute of support from the Scriptures. It is rather the Angel of the Lord who carries out God's plans in the world, and for their accomplishment and execution makes war against the hostile spirit of the heathen world-power. The subjugation of this spirit supposes a particular angel ruling in the heathen world just as little as Jehovah's contending against the heathen nations that oppress and persecute His kingdom and people.
In the war against the hostile spirit of the kingdom of Persia, the archangel Michael came to the help of the Angel of the Lord. The name מיכאל , who is as God, comes into view, as does the name Gabriel, only according to the appellative signification of the word, and expresses, after the analogy of Exodus 15:11; Psalms 89:7., the idea of God's unparalleled helping power. Michael is thus the angel possessing the unparalleled power of God. He is here said to be “one of the chief princes,” i.e., of the highest angel-princes, - Daniel 10:21, “your prince,” i.e., the prince who contends for Israel, who conducts the cause of Israel. The first title points undoubtedly to an arrangement of orders and degrees among the angels, designating Michael as one of the most distinguished of the angel-princes; hence called in Jude 1:9 ἀρχάγγελος , also in Revelation 12:7, where he is represented as contending with his angels against the dragon. The opinion that Michael is called “one of the chief princes,” not as in contrast with the angels, but only with the demons of the heathen gods (Kliefoth), is opposed by the words themselves and by the context. From the circumstance that the guardian spirit of Persia is called שׂר it does not follow that שׂרים is not a designation of the angels generally, but only of the princes of the people, who are the spirits ruling in the social affairs of nations and kingdoms (Hofmann, p. 337); and even though this conclusion may be granted, this meaning for השׂרים with the article and the predicate הראשׁנים is undemonstrable. For the Scripture does not place the demon-powers of heathendom so on a line with the angels that both are designated as ראשׁנים שׂרים . The ראשׁנים שׁרים can only be the princes, chiefs, of the good angels remaining in communion with God, and working for the kingdom of God. Though what is said by the angel Michael, for the sake of the Israelitish people, among whom he has the sphere of his activity, may be said for their comfort, yet it does not follow therefrom that that which is said “cannot give disclosures regarding the relation within the angel-world, but only regarding the relation to the great historical nations and powers of the world” (Hofm. p. 338). For as regards the statement adduced in support of this opinion - ”the greatness and importance of the work entrusted to him makes him one of the ראשׁנים , not that the work is entrusted to him because he is so” - just the contrary is true. To a subordinate spirit God will not entrust a work demanding special power and greatness; much rather the being entrusted with a great and important work supposes a man exalted above the common mass. And for the comforting of Israel the words, “Michael, one of the foremost princes, came to my help,” affirm that Israel is under very powerful protection, because its guardian spirit is one of the foremost of the angel-princes, whereby implic. it is said at the same time that the people, though they be little esteemed before the world, yet cannot be destroyed by the nations of the world. This thought follows as a conclusion from what is said regarding the dignity of their guardian angel, but it does not form the contents of the saying regarding Michael and his place among the heavenly spirits.
But we learn from Daniel 10:21 the reason why the archangel Michael, and no other angel, came to the help of him who was clothed with linen. It was because Michael was the prince of Israel, i.e., “the high angel-prince who had to maintain the cause of the people of God in the invisible spirit-world against opposing powers” (Auberlen, p. 289); and as such he appears also in Jude 1:9 and Revelation 12:7. The coming of Michael to give help does not include in it this, that he was superior in might or in position to the angel that spake, and thus supplies no proof that the angel that spake was Gabriel, or an angel different from him who was clothed with linen. For even a subordinate servant can bring help to his master, and in a conflict render him aid in gaining the victory. Against the idea of the subjection of Michael to the angel that spake, or the man clothed with linen, stands the further unfolding of the angel's message, the statement in Daniel 10:21 and Daniel 11:1, according to which the angel that spake gave strength and help to Michael in the first year of the Median Darius, from which we have more reason to conclude that the angel who spake stood above the angel Michael; see under Daniel 11:1.
In consequence of the assistance on the part of Michael, the Angel of the Lord obtained the place of superiority by the side of the king of Persia. נותר has not here the usual meaning, to be over and above, to remain, but is to be translated after הותיר , Genesis 49:4, to have the pre-eminence, to excel, in the passive signification of the Hiphil: “ to be provided with the preference, to gain the superiority.” The translation, “I have maintained the place” (Hofm.), cannot be proved. אצל , at the side of, near, is explained from the idea of the protecting spirit standing by the side of his protege. The plural, “kings of Persia,” neither refers to Cyrus and Cambyses, nor to Cyrus and the conquered kings living with him (Croesus, etc.), nor to Cyrus and the prince, i.e., his guardian spirit (Hitzig). The plural denotes, that by the subjugation of the demon of the Persian kingdom, his influence not merely over Cyrus, but over all the following kings of Persia, was brought to an end, so that the whole of the Persian kings became accessible to the influence of the spirit proceeding from God and advancing the welfare of Israel.
With this joyful message the angel comes to Daniel, to open up to him what would befall his people in the last time. The punctuation of יקרה ( shall befall) is according to יקרא (Genesis 49:1); the Kethiv יקרה has the correct form. חימים בּאחרית as Daniel 2:28, the Messianic world-time, in Daniel 8:17 is called the time of the end. “For,” the angel adds, “the vision refers, or stretches itself out, to the days.” ליּמים , with the article, are the days of the אחרית ( the latter time), the Messianic world-time. חזון is the revelation which in Daniel 10:1 is called דּבר and מראה , the following revelation in Daniel 11. Kliefoth is incorrect in thinking on the revelations already given, Daniel 7, 8, 9, to Daniel, regarding which the angel now seeks to bring to him further understanding. For although those revelations stretch out to the last time, and the revelations in Daniel 11 only give further disclosures regarding it, yet neither does the angel who speaks to Daniel here thus represent the matter, nor does the form of the revelation Daniel 10-12, namely, the majestic appearance of the Angel of the Lord, not a common angel-revelation, correspond with this supposition. חזון also cannot, without further definition, refer to those earlier revelations; and the opinion that הבּין denotes the understanding, as distinguished from the revelation or proclamation, does not accord with the usual style of Daniel's language. הבּין denotes here, as in Daniel 8:16, the interpretation of the vision, which in both cases contains the things which shall befall the people of God in the future. Cf. Daniel 9:22, where יבּין is used of the announcement of the revelation of God regarding the seventy weeks.
In these verses it is further related how Daniel was gradually raised up and made capable of receiving the revelation of God. The communication of the angel hitherto had not fully gained this object. Daniel “stood trembling,” but he could not yet speak. With his face bent towards the earth he was as yet speechless. Then one having the likeness of a man touched his lips, whereby he received the power of speech, and could address him who stood before him, and utter the complaint: “By the vision anguish, i.e., violent terror, has fallen upon me: woes are turned upon me.” For this style of speech cf. 1 Samuel 4:19, and for the matter itself, cf. Isaiah 21:3; Isaiah 13:8. For the following כּח עצרתּי ולא ( and I have no strength, Daniel 10:16), cf. Daniel 10:8.
Therefore he may not talk with this Lord, i.e., with Him who appeared before him in such dread majesty; and he is yet in such a state, since all strength has departed from him and his breath has gone, that he fears he must die; cf. 1 Kings 17:17. Then once more one like the appearance of a man touched him. אדם כּמראה is in reality = אדם בּני כּדּמוּת : both forms of expression leave the person of him who touched him undefined, and only state that the touching proceeded from some one who was like a man, or that it was such as proceeds from men, and are like the expression used in Daniel 10:19, “a hand touched me.” From this it does not follow that he who spoke to him touched him, but only that it was a spiritual being, who appeared like to a man. After thus being touched for the third time (Daniel 10:18), the encouragement of the angel that talked with him imparted to him full strength, so that he could calmly listen to and observe his communication.
But before he communicated to Daniel what would befall his people in the “latter days” (Daniel 10:14), he gives to him yet further disclosures regarding the proceedings in the spirit-kingdom which determine the fate of nations, and contain for Israel, in the times of persecution awaiting them, the comforting certainty that they had in the Angel of the Lord and in the guardian angel Michael a strong protection against the enmities of the heathen world. Kliefoth supposes that the angel who speaks in v. 20 - Daniel 11:1 gives a brief resumי of the contents of his previous statement (Daniel 10:12-2 Chronicles :). But it is not so. These verses, 10:20-11:1, contain new disclosures not yet made known in Daniel 11:12-Psalms :, although resembling the contents of Daniel 10:13. Of the coming of the prince of Javan (v. 20 b), and the help which the angel-prince renders to Darius (Daniel 11:1), nothing is said in Daniel 10:13; also what the Angel of the Lord, Daniel 10:20, says regarding the conflict with the prince of Persia is different from that which is said in Daniel 10:13. In Daniel 10:13 he speaks of that which he has done before his coming to Daniel; in Daniel 10:20, of that which he will now do. To the question, “Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee?” no answer follows; it has, however, an affirmative sense, and is only an animated mode of address to remind Daniel of that which is said in Daniel 10:12-2 Chronicles :, and to impress it upon him as weighty and worthy of consideration. Then follows the new communication: “and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia,” i.e., to carry forward and bring to an end the victory gained for thee before my arrival over the demon of Persia, the spirit of the Persian kingdom.
The words which follow, ' וגו והנּה יוצא ואני (v. 20 b, and when I am gone forth, lo, etc.), present some difficulty. The ואני in comparison with אשׁוּב ( will I return) points to a contrast, and והנּה plainly indicates that which shall begin with the יוצא אני . By this, the union of the יוצא ואני with that which goes before and the adversative interpretation of והנּה (v. Leng.) is excluded. But יוצא is interpreted differently. Hävernick, Maurer, and others understand it of going forth to war; only we must not then think (with Maurer) of the war against the prince of Persia. “For he will do that even now (in the third year of Cyrus), and at this time the coming of the prince of Grecia has no meaning” (Hitzig). Hofmann and Hitzig understand, therefore, יוצא , in contrast to בּא , of a going forth from the conflict, as in 2 Kings 11:7 “they shall go forth on the Sabbath” is placed over against “that enter in on the Sabbath” in 2 Kings 11:5; but in an entirely different sense. Hitzig thus renders the clause: “when I have done with the Persians, and am on the point of departing, then shall the king of Grecia rise up against me.” יון must then be the Seleucidan kingdom, and the שׂר the guardian spirit of Egypt - suppositions which need no refutation, while the interpretation of the words themselves fails by the arbitrary interpolation “against me” after בּא . According to Hofmann, the angel says that “he had to return and contend further with the prince of the people of Persia; and that when he has retired from this conflict, then shall the prince of the Grecian people come, compelling him to enter on a new war.” This last clause Hofmann thus more fully illustrates: “Into the conflict with the prince of the people of Persia, which the angel retires from, the prince of the Grecian people enters, and against him he resumes it after that the Persian kingdom has fallen, and is then also helped by Michael, the prince of the Jewish people, in this war against the prince of Grecia, as he had been in the war against the prince of Persia” ( Schriftbew. i. pp. 333, 334f.). But Hitzig and Kliefoth have, in opposition to this, referred to the incongruity which lies in the thought that the prince of Javan shall enter into the war of the angel against the Persians, and assume and carry it forward. The angel fights against the demon of Persia, not to destroy the Persians, but to influence the Persian king in favour of the people of God; on the contrary, the prince of Javan comes to destroy the Persian king. According to this, we cannot say that the prince of Javan enters into the place of the angel in the war. “The Grecians and the Persians much rather stand,” as Hitzig rightly remarks, “on one side, and are adversaries of Michael and our שׂר ,” i.e., of the angel who spake to Daniel. Add to this, that although יצא , to go out, means also to go away, to go off, yet the meaning to go away from the conflict, to abandon it, is not confirmed: much rather יצא , sensu militari , always denotes only “to go out, forth, into the conflict;” cf. 1 Samuel 8:20; 1 Samuel 23:15; 1 Chronicles 20:1; Job 39:21, etc. We have to take the word in this signification here (with C. B. Michaelis, Klief., and Kran.), only we must not, with Kranichfeld, supply the clause, “to another more extensive conflict,” because this supplement is arbitrary, but rather, with Kliefoth, interpret the word generally as it stands of the going out of the angel to fight for the people of God, without excluding the war with the prince of Persia, or limiting it to this war. Thus the following will be the meaning of the passage: Now shall I return to resume and continue the war with the prince of Persia, to maintain the position gained (Daniel 10:13) beside the kings of Persia; but when (while) I thus go forth to war, i.e., while I carry on this conflict, lo, the prince of Javan shall come ( הנּה with the partic. בּא of the future) - then shall there be a new conflict. This last thought is not, it is true, expressly uttered, but it appears from Daniel 10:21. The warring with the prince, i.e., the spirit of Persia hostile to Israel, refers to the oppositions which the Jews would encounter in the hindrances put in the way of their building the temple from the time of Cyrus to the time of Darius Hystaspes, and further under Xerxes and Artaxerxes till the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, as well as at a later time on the side of the Persian world-power, in the midst of all which difficulties the Angel of the Lord promises to guide the affairs of His people. יון שׂר is the spirit of the Macedonian world-kingdom, which would arise and show as great hostility as did the spirit of Persia against the people of God.
This verse is antithetically connected with the preceding by אבּל , but yet. The contrast, however, does not refer to the fears for the theocracy (Kranichfeld) arising out of the last-named circumstance (v. 20 b), according to which the angel seeks to inform Daniel that under these circumstances the prophecy can only contain calamity. For “the prophecy by no means contains only calamity, but war and victory and everlasting victory added thereto” (Klief.). C. B. Michaelis has more correctly interpreted the connection thus: Verum ne forte et sic, quod principem Graeciae Persarum principi successurum intellexisti, animum despondeas, audi ergo, quod tibi tuisque solatio esse potest, ego indicabo tibi, quod , etc. “The Scripture of truth” is the book in which God has designated beforehand, according to truth, the history of the world as it shall certainly be unfolded; cf. Malachi 3:16; Psalms 139:16; Revelation 5:1. The following clause, אחד ואין , is not connected adversatively with the preceding: “there is yet no one ... “ (Hofmann and others), but illustratively, for the angel states more minutely the nature of the war which he has to carry on. He has no one who fights with him against these enemies ( אלּה על , against the evil spirits of Persia and Greece) but Michael the angel-prince of Israel, who strongly shows himself with him, i.e., as an ally in the conflict ( מתחזּק as 1 Samuel 4:9; 2 Samuel 10:12), i.e., renders to him powerful aid, as he himself in the first year of Darius the Mede had been a strong helper and protection to Michael.
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Daniel 10". Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30