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Bible Commentaries

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary
Daniel 12



Verse 1

Michael, "who is like God," alludes to the name of the Machabees; Who is like unto thee among the gods? The archangel protected the Jews, while Epiphanes was engaged beyond the Euphrates. --- Time. The nation was in the utmost distress. Only about seven thousand ill-armed men adhered to Judas: yet these delivered the country by God's decree. --- Book. God seemed to keep a register of his friends. (Calmet) --- Michael, the guardian of the Church, will protect her against antichrist, as her pastors will do visibly. (Worthington)

Guest. It seems most probable that the king here spoken of was Evilmerodac, the son and successor of Nabuchodonosor, and a great favourer of the Jews; (Challoner; Worthington) or it might be Darius, (Houbigant.) or Cyrus, under whose reign St. Irenæus (iv. 11.) and others place this history. (Calmet) --- The more correct Greek editions begin with the preceding verse. (Menochius) --- Septuagint read, "Prophecy of Abaum, son of Juda, of the tribe of Levi. There was a priest, Daniel, son of Abda, who was a guest of the king of Babylon," &c. See Pref. (Haydock)

Verse 2

Many. This shews the great number. All shall rise again. In a figurative sense, the Jews who seemed buried shall appear and fight. --- To see. Hebrew: "everlasting." (Calmet) --- St. Jerome has not seen a d (Haydock) in the word. This text is express for eternal happiness or misery. (Calmet) --- Some have understood, deraon, "stench," or contempt, to denote the ignominy of the damned; but the prophet speaks of the times of the Machabees. (Houbigant.) --- All shall rise in their bodies, but all shall not be changed for the better. (1 Corinthians xv. 51.) (Worthington)

Verse 3

Learned in the law of God and true wisdom, which consists in knowing and loving God. (Challoner) --- Hebrew: "instructors." --- Instruct. Hebrew: "justify," in the same sense. The Machabees and other priests, &c. who instructed people in the law, and stood up for its defence, may be meant. (Calmet) --- "There is as much difference between a learned sanctity and a holy rusticity, as there is between heaven and the stars." (St. Jerome) --- Teachers, martyrs, and virgins are entitled to an aureola, or accidental reward, besides the essential beatitude. (Worthington) --- Many. Th. and the Vulgate read, "and of the just many shall be like for an age and after." (St. Jerome)

Verse 4

Shut. The vision will not be understood till the event. (Calmet) --- It is not to be interpreted by human wit, but by the spirit of God, wherewith the Church is enlightened and governed. (St. Jerome in Gal.) (Worthington)

Verse 5

Two angels of Persia and Greece, near the Tigris. (Maldonat)

Judges. The Jews say they were Achab and Sedecias, (Origen) as this text seems to allude to Jeremias xxix. 21. or xxxiii. 14. But how were they burnt? since the Jews appear to have stoned them, unless they were delivered up to the king's officers. (ver. 61.) (Calmet) --- The captives under Joakim, were better treated than those who were taken nineteen years afterwards, when all fell into a heavier bondage. (Worthington) --- The might enjoy possessions, (Haydock) and have judges of their nation. (Calmet) --- Cappel. urges this difficulty, and many others, to shew that this account is fabulous. But as the Jews were allowed to follow their religion, the Chaldees would strive to keep them in good order. It is not said that Joakim was one of the captives. He might have settled long before at Babylon, where Helcias probably brought up his daughter in the fear of God. (ver. 3.) The judges might also have had authority before over the Israelites, in Assyria, who were now all under the same government. (ver. 57.) (Houbigant.; Pref.)

Verse 6

I. Hebrew: "He." Theod., Syriac and Arabic: "they said" to Gabriel. (Chap. x. 5.) Angels ask questions of each other. (Chap. viii. 13.) --- Wonders. How long shall this be in the dark, and the misery continue?

Verse 7

Heaven. He thus shews that he is not God. (Calmet) --- Time often implies a year. (Chap. iv. 13.) Hence he means three years and a half. Christ assures us that those days shall be shortened, (Matthew xxiv. 22.) and the persecutor shall tarry a short time. (Apocalypse xvii. 10. and xii. 14.) The same period is insinuated by 1290 days, (ver. 11) and 1330. (ver. 12.) The two witnesses prophesy 1260 days, during which the Church shall be fed in the wilderness. (Apocalypse xii. 6.) But the term is most exactly specified by forty-two months. (Apocalypse xi. 2. and xiii. 5.) Hence all the Fathers agree that the last persecution shall continue no longer. (Worthington) --- How absurdly do some Protestants explain this of years during which, they say, the papacy shall subsist! Whence will they date its origin? But they will readily trifle with the word of God, and admit any one to indulge his fancy, as long as he does not strike at the thirty-nine articles. If he do, he may expect that treatment of poor Stone, (Haydock) whose death in the King's Bench, aged 75, has been just announced. He pleaded that one article decided, "nothing was to be maintained which could not be proved by Scripture." Yet he was deprived of his living by Dr. Porteus, who at one time was as eager to procure a change in the articles, yet was not prevented by his scruples from mounting the episcopal throne of Chester or of London. Stone had not this discretion. (Rock. N. 306.) He fell a victim to contradictory articles. He might be in error. But what right had Proteus to throw the first stone at him? or how will Protestants shew that any man is reprehensible for adopting the principles of the Reformation, which was entirely built on private interpretation? The applaud Luther, who established Scripture self-interpreted for the only rule, and they condemn Stone, Wesley, &c. for acting accordingly. If they have such just weights and measures for their own, what wonder then if the rights of Catholics be disregarded? (Haydock) --- Half a time. The idol of Jupiter remained just three years. Yet the temple was not ready for sacrifices till other ten days had elapsed. They had been interrupted six months before that idol was set up. (Calmet) --- We must date from the profanation and distress caused by Apllonius. (1 Machabees iv. 52.; Jos. [Josephus?]; S. Hypol. [St. Hippolytus?]; Usher, A. 3836. [in the year of the world 3836.]) (Calmet) --- Band. Literally, "hand." (Haydock) --- When the people shall be destitute of strength, God will miraculously deliver them.

Noon, at which time the Jews dined, (ver. 13.; Jos. [Josephus?] vita) and the streets were as little frequented as they are at night among us. Hence the judges thought this a fit opportunity. (Calmet)

Verse 8

Understand not. The prophets were obliged to pray, and sometimes to receive a fresh revelation to explain what they had seen. (Chap. ix. 2.; 1 Peter i. 11.; and 1 Corinthians xiv. 26.) What regarded Antiochus and the Church was almost inexplicable before the event, as the times of antichrist are to us. (ver. 9.)

Verse 9

Mind. They were distracted by love, (Haydock) and rendered foolish.

Verse 10

White, by persecution endured with patience. (Chap. xi. 35.) --- Learned. While the weak Jews will be scandalized at this treatment, the virtuous will reflect that suffering is a trial of God's servants, and a mark of predestination.

Verse 11

Days: thirteen more than three and a half, as we reckon. The odd number might be neglected. (ver. 7.) The abomination continued three years and ten days, but the sacrifices had been discontinued six months and three days before. See Chap. viii. 14. If Daniel speak of lunar years, as is probable, the difference would only be two days. (Calmet) --- From the abolishing of the mass as much as possible, and the practice of heresy and abomination, unto the end of antichrist's persecution, 1290 days shall elapse. (Worthington)

Verse 12

Days. After the three years and a half, fifty-eight days will occur before the death of Antiochus, when Judas will disperse the troops of his three generals. (Calmet) --- Some respite will be granted for forty-five days, during which sinners may repent. (Menochius) --- It is difficult to say why forty-five days are here added to the former number. We are content to depart with Daniel, (ver. 9.) without searching any farther into these high mysteries. (Worthington)

Verse 13

Lot. Thou shalt enjoy a glorious resurrection, (Menochius) and thy dignities till death, for which thou must prepare. (Calmet) --- Days. "Hitherto," says St. Jerome, "we read Daniel, in the Hebrew volume; what follows, to the end, is translated from Theodotion's edition." (Haydock) --- The history of Susanna is there placed at the beginning. (Calmet) --- According to the order of time, it should be placed after the first chapter. (Menochius)



This history of Susanna, in all the ancient Greek and Latin Bibles, was placed in the beginning of the Book of Daniel, till St. Jerome, in his translation, detached it from thence, because he did not find it in the Hebrew; which is also the case of the history of Bel and the dragon. But both the one and the other are received by the Catholic Church, and were from the very beginning a part of the Christian Bible. (Challoner) --- Daniel seems not to have written the history of Susanna, at least in the volume which contains his prophecies, though it be unquestionably canonical. (Cornelius a Lapide) --- It has been doubted whether it was ever in Hebrew. (Calmet) --- But Origen solves the difficulties of Africanus. (Haydock) --- Susanna means "lily," and is proposed as a pattern of conjugal chastity. (Calmet) --- Daniel was about twelve years old when he disclosed the malice of her accusers. (St. Augustine, ser. 242. de temp.) (Worthington)

Verse 18

Back door, leading from the house. Strangers came by the other gates. (Calmet) --- Susanna had not perhaps at first intended to bathe. Cappel. accuses her of imprudence, without reason. He cannot believe that the old judges would be so sottish as they appear to have been. (Houbigant.)

Verse 19

Angry. Cappel thinks the priests would not be so easily caught, or that such an imposture would not be so long concealed. But it was their interest to keep the secret, particularly if the king furnished the provisions; and in the night time they would not perceive the small ashes. (Houbigant.) --- The pagans stupidly believed (Calmet) that the idols eat. (Aristoph. [Aristophanes?], Plutus. iii. 2.) --- All the objections against this history are refuted by Jeremias li. 5. (Houbigant.) --- It is wonderful that so learned a man as Cappel should urge so many. (Haydock)

Verse 22

Death of the soul, (St. Jerome) and also of the body, if the adultery were detected. How much does Susanna surpass the famed Lucretia, who slew herself to shew that she had not consented to her violation! Si adultera cur laudata? Si pudica cur occisa? (St. Augustine, City of God i. 19.; St. Ambrose, de Sp. iii. 3.) (Calmet)

Dragon. The devil had seduced our first parents in the form of a serpent, and caused most nations to adore it. (Calmet) --- They expected benefit, or to be preserved from harm. (Valer. i. 8.; St. Augustine, de Civ. Dei. xiv. 11.) (Worthington)

Verse 24

Out. so the law ordained, when a woman was assaulted. (Haydock)

Verse 26

Asunder, being choked, and not poisoned. (Vales. 81.) (Menochius) --- The throat is narrow. (Solin. 43.)

Verse 27

Jew, or "a Jew is king;" Daniel governs all. (Grotius)

Verse 28

House. Religion is daring. Darius was weak, and only a sort of viceroy, left by Cyrus. (Houbigant.)

Verse 29

People, for greater shew of justice. (Worthington) --- We here behold the forms.

Verse 30

The den of lions. Daniel was twice cast into the den of lions: once under Darius, the Mede, because he had transgressed the king's edict, by praying three times a day; and another time under Evilmerodac, by a sedition of the people. This time he remained six days in the lions' den; the other time only one night. (Challoner)

Verse 31

Carcasses: people condemned, (Calmet) or dead. (Houbigant.)

Verse 32

Uncovered, pretending that respect for the company required it, or perhaps that they might detect her guilt by her blushes. (Calmet) --- But their real motive is here disclosed. (Haydock)

Habacuc. The same, as some think, whose prophecy is found among the lesser prophets: but others believe him to be different. (Challoner) --- About twenty years before there was no prophet in Judea. (Chap. iii. 38.) Habacuc, the eighth of the minor prophets, lived before the Babylonian monarchy was formed. (Chap. i. 6.) (Worthington) --- Yet he might still survive. If this had not been a true history, such an extraordinary mode of conveyance would not have been mentioned. Cappel imagines it was an allusion to Philip, the deacon, and fabricated by some Christian. But Theodotion found it in Hebrew (Houbigant.) and he was no friend to Christianity when he wrote; though he had once followed Tatian, and the Marcionites. (Haydock)

Verse 34

Head, saying, "Thy malice brings on this chastisement, and not we." (Lyran.) --- They appear to discharge their conscience, (Leviticus i. 4. and xxiv. 14.) no as judges but as accusers. The people pass sentence. (ver. 41.) Adulteresses were stoned. (Leviticus xx. 10.) (Calmet)

Verse 39

Seventh. He had not come before, supposing he was dead, till at last a rumour got to his ears, notwithstanding the precautions of the Babylonians, who hoped that Daniel would be starved to death. (Houbigant, Proleg. p. 2. p. 425 which end here.)

Verse 40

Daniel. Greek adds, "besides thee there is no other." (Haydock)

Verse 41

Death. The multitude approved of this sentence, which the judges pronounced, pretending to act agreeably to the law. (Deuteronomy xxii.) (Worthington)

Den, by the law of retaliation. (Chap. vi. 24.) (Menochius)

Verse 42

Then, &c. is not in Greek nor in the ancient manuscripts of St. Jerome. The verse may be taken from Chap. ii. 26. (Calmet)

Verse 45


Boy. He was about twelve years old. (St. Ignatius, ad Magn.; Sulpitius ii.; Theod.) --- He might walk out, though he lodged at court. (Houbigant.) --- God enabled him to declare that Susanna was innocent. The people had consented to her death, but he stands up in her defence. (Worthington)

Verse 46

Clear. This form is often used. (Acts xviii. 6.; Matthew xxvii. 24.)

Verse 48

Truth. They had taken no precautions to ascertain it; which they ought to have done the more, as Susanna had always been highly esteemed. (Calmet) --- As the witnesses were positive, she must die, except their falsehood could be manifested, which not suspected. (Houbigant.)

Verse 50

Old men. They speak sarcastically; or rather other senators, who had not been in the plot, address Daniel.

Verse 55

Two. This punishment was not unusual: yet it is probable that the two old men were stoned to death by the law of retaliation. (ver. 61.; Exodus xix. 4.) There is an allusion, in Greek, between schinon and schisei, and also between Prinos and prisei; (ver. 58, 59) and hence it is concluded that this work was originally in that language. But there might be a similar allusion in Hebrew or Chaldee or the translator might think it lawful to put one tree for another. (Calmet) --- We find a tree called shinar, in Persia. (Tavern. iv. 6.) It would be easy to produce similar allusions in the Latin ilex; thus ilico peribis, &c. (Menochius)

Verse 57

Israel, when you were judges in Assyria. (ver. 5.) (Haydock) --- Conversed. No one could be alone with women, in the East, without suspicion.

Verse 61

Neighbour; stoning or strangling them, unless they gave them up to Nabuchodonosor's officers. (ver. 5.) (Calmet)

Verse 64

Forward. By this first prophetical act Daniel acquired fame, (Worthington) which he retained till the death of Astyages. (Maldonat; Menochius)

Verse 65

Astyages, or Darius. (Chap. v. 31.) This belongs to the following chap. (Calmet) or to the 9th. (Worthington) --- Cyrus. Little is known about his birth or death. Yet all agree that he conquered the Chaldeans. (Calmet)




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Bibliography Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Daniel 12:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, June 25th, 2019
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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