Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
CHAP. 10–12. HISTORY OF THE SELEUCIDAE AND PTOLEMIES. REIGN OF ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES, AND HIS TREATMENT OF THE JEWS. ADVENT OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
These three chapters form a whole, describing a vision of Daniel in the third year of Cyrus, by the Ḥiddeḳel (the Tigris), and (ch. 11, 12) the revelations respecting the future which Daniel received in it from an angel. Daniel had fasted for 21 days, when he fell into a state of trance or vision, in which he saw a shining being standing before him, who told him that he had been sent in answer to his prayers, but that he had been prevented from reaching him before by the opposition of the ‘prince’ (i.e. the guardian-angel) of Persia; with the help of Michael, the ‘prince,’ or guardian-angel, of the Jews, he had at length been able to start on his mission, and he was now here in order to give Daniel a revelation concerning the future (Daniel 10:1-19). After a few introductory words (Daniel 10:20 to Daniel 11:1), the revelation follows in Daniel 11:2 to Daniel 12:4 (there should be no break either at Daniel 10:21 or at Daniel 11:45), a solemn concluding statement respecting the duration of the coming period of trial being given in the concluding dialogue, Daniel 12:5-13.
This, the last vision contained in the Book, is also the most circumstantial; both the history of the Diadochi, and also the events of Antiochus Epiphanes’ own reign, being described in much greater detail than had been given before (Daniel 11:2-45), and the felicity to begin afterwards being more distinctly outlined (Daniel 12:1-3).
(1) Daniel 10:1 to Daniel 11:1. Introductory. Daniel’s vision, and his colloquy with the shining angel.
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.1. king of Persia] A title, not borne by the Persian kings while the Persian empire still lasted, though often given to them after it had passed away, as a mark of distinction from the Greek rulers who then followed.
 See the writer’s Introduction, p. 511 f. with p. 512, n. 3 (ed. 6, p. 545, with p. 546, n. *).
a thing] or, a word: cf. Daniel 9:23 b, and (Aram.) Daniel 4:33.
Belteshazzar] See on Daniel 1:7; and cf. Daniel 5:12.
and the word (is) true, and a great warfare] The revelation is true (cf. Daniel 8:26), and relates besides to a period of severe hardship and trial. ‘Warfare’ has the same figurative sense which it has in Isaiah 40:2; Job 7:1; Job 14:14 (A.V. in Job, as here, appointed time, following the interpretation of Kimchi; R.V. rightly warfare, figuratively of the hardships of life).
and he understood &c.] and he gave heed unto the word.
In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.2. was mourning] or, continued mourning. The motive of Daniel’s mourning is not stated; but it may be inferred from Daniel 10:12 (cf. Daniel 9:3) to have been grief for his people’s sin (cf. Ezra 10:6), and anxiety about its future (cf. Nehemiah 1:4).
three full weeks] three weeks long. Lit. three weeks, days—a pleonastic idiom, which occurs elsewhere (e.g. Genesis 41:1; Deuteronomy 21:13; 2 Samuel 13:23). ‘Full’ emphasizes the expression unduly.
 See Ges.-Kautzsch, § 131 d.
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.3. pleasant bread] lit. bread of desirablenesses (Daniel 9:23). Daniel did not fast absolutely; he only abstained from ‘pleasant’ food. Flesh and wine would, in the East, not be indulged in except at a festivity, or on other special occasions (e.g. Genesis 27:25, 1 Samuel 25:11 [where LXX. followed by many moderns, has wine for water]; Isaiah 22:13).
neither did I anoint myself at all] The practice of anointing the body with oil or other unguents was common among the Jews, as among other ancient nations: it soothed and refreshed the skin, and was a protection against heat. It was customary after washing, especially in anticipation of a visit, a feast, &c. (Ruth 3:3); and so to be anointed was a mark of contentment and joy (Isaiah 61:3, Ecclesiastes 9:8; cf. Matthew 6:17), while, conversely, during mourning it was usual not to anoint oneself (2 Samuel 14:2; cf. 2 Samuel 12:20).
three whole weeks] The same expression which in Daniel 10:2 is rendered full weeks.
And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel;4. the first month] Abib (Exodus 23:15), or (as it was called by the later Jews) Nisan (Nehemiah 2:1),—the month in which the Passover (on the 14th day) and feast of Unleavened Cakes (15th–21st) were kept (Exodus 12:1-20). These sacred seasons thus fell within the period of Daniel’s fast.
the great river] elsewhere the Euphrates (Genesis 15:18; Joshua 1:4): here, of the Ḥiddeḳel (Genesis 2:14), i.e. the Tigris (Ass. Idiglat or Idiḳlat): cf. the Syr. form Deḳlath. (Tigris is probably a Persian modification of the same name, suggested by the Old Pers. tighri, arrow cf. [tighra, pointed, sharp], on account of the swiftness of its stream: see Delitzsch, Paradies, p. 170 ff., who cites Strabo, xi. 14, 8, διὰ τὴν ὀξύτητα, ἀφʼ οὗ καὶ τοὔνομα, Μήδων τίγριν καλούντων τὸ τόξευμα.)
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:5. lift up mine eyes] in the vision: cf. Daniel 8:3.
and saw] Daniel (Daniel 10:4) was on the side of the river; and it appears from Daniel 12:6-7, that the figure which he beheld was directly above the river itself, and consequently (Daniel 10:16) ‘in front of’ him. The description of the shining being which follows, contains many reminiscences of Ezekiel 1, 9.
a certain man] a man: the Hebrew idiom, as 1 Kings 22:9, &c.
clothed in linen] The expression is suggested probably by Ezekiel 9:2-3; Ezekiel 9:11; Ezekiel 10:2; Ezekiel 10:6-7. (White) linen garments were worn (on certain occasions) by priests or others performing sacred offices (Leviticus 6:10; Leviticus 16:4; 1 Samuel 2:18; 1 Samuel 22:18; 2 Samuel 6:14). Here, as in Ezek., the linen vesture indicates a celestial visitant: cf. Mark 16:5, Revelation 15:6 (R.V. marg.).
whose loins, &c.] A girdle richly ornamented with gold was about his loins.
fine gold] Heb. kéthem, a choice, poetical word (e.g. Job 28:19; Job 31:24), the one generally used in the expression ‘gold of Ophir’ (Job 28:16; Psalm 45:9; Isaiah 13:12).
Uphaz] only besides in Jeremiah 10:9, ‘gold (zâhâb) from Uphaz.’ No place Uphaz is, however, known; hence the reading in Jer. is probably corrupt, and we should read there ‘from Ophir’ (with Targ., Pesh., MSS. of LXX., and many moderns). Either the author of Daniel borrowed the expression from Jeremiah 10:9, after the text there had been corrupted; or we may suppose that Uphaz (אופז) here is simply a scribal error for Ophir (אופר): comp. the last note.
5–9. The dazzling being seen by Daniel in his vision, and the effects of the spectacle upon him. For a vision following a fast, cf. Apoc. of Baruch Daniel 10:7, ix. 2, vii. 5, x. 5, 6, xxi. 1, xliii. 3, xlvii. 2; 2Es 5:13; 2Es 5:20; 2Es 6:31; 2Es 6:35; 2Es 9:24; 2Es 9:26; 2Es 12:51 : also Acts 10:10.
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.6. The dazzling appearance of his person.
His body] The word used in Ezekiel 1:11; Ezekiel 1:23.
the beryl] the chrysolith (as LXX. in Ex. and Ezekiel 28:13)—said (see Smith, D. B., s. v. beryl) to be the topaz of the moderns—a flashing stone, described by Pliny as ‘a transparent stone with a refulgence like that of gold.’ Comp. Exodus 28:20, and especially Ezekiel 1:16; Ezekiel 10:9, where the wheels of the chariot in Ez.’s vision are compared to the same stone. The Heb. is tarshish: it may be so called, as Pliny says of the chrysolith, on account of its having been brought from Spain (Tarshish, Tartessus).
as the appearance of lightning, … as torches of fire] cf. Ezekiel 1:13 (R.V. marg.), ‘In the midst of the living creatures was an appearance like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches … and out of the fire went forth lightning.’
like the gleaming of burnished brass] from Ezekiel 1:7 (of the feet of the cherubic figures which supported the throne) ‘and they sparkled like the gleaming of burnished brass.’ Gleaming is lit. eye, fig. of something sparkling: so Ezekiel 1:4; Ezekiel 1:16; Ezekiel 1:22; Ezekiel 1:27; Ezekiel 8:2; Ezekiel 10:9; Proverbs 23:31 (A.V. in all ‘colour’).
the voice of his words] or, the sound of his words: the words do not seem to become articulate until Daniel 10:11.
like the voice of a multitude] Isaiah 13:4 (the Heb. for ‘voice,’ ‘sound,’ ‘noise’ is the same). But the expression is perhaps suggested by Ezekiel 1:24 (R.V.) ‘a noise of tumult’ (where the Heb. for tumult partly resembles that for multitude here). An impressive, but inarticulate, sound seems to be what the comparison is intended to suggest. With the last three clauses of this verse, comp. the description of the risen Christ in Revelation 1:14 b, 15.
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.7. Cf. Acts 9:7; Acts 22:9.
howbeit (Daniel 10:21) a great quaking] or trembling: the Heb. is the same as in Genesis 27:33 (lit. ‘Isaac trembled with a great trembling’). They may have seen the effects of the vision upon Daniel (cf. Daniel 10:8).
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.8. And I (emph.) was left alone, and saw this great vision] ‘great,’ on account of the majestic appearance of the angel.
and there was left (Daniel 10:17) no strength in me] Cf. 1 Samuel 28:20. The vision itself is more impressive than that of Gabriel in Daniel 8:16-18, and its effects upon Daniel are more marked.
comeliness] The meaning is dignity of countenance. Majesty, glory, is the idea of the word: cf. (of God) Psalm 8:1, Habakkuk 3:3; (of a king), Psalm 45:3, Jeremiah 22:18 (‘Ah lord! or, Ah his glory!’); of the Israel of the future, compared to a nobly-spreading tree, Hosea 14:6 (where ‘beauty,’ A.V., R.V., is inadequate).
was turned upon me into corruption] i.e. disfigured, or destroyed, by sudden pallor. The Hebrew word rendered ‘corruption’ is cognate with that rendered ‘marred’ in Isaiah 52:14 (also of the countenance). For ‘upon,’ cf. Daniel 5:9, Daniel 7:28; and see on Daniel 2:1.
retained no strength] In the Heb., a late idiom, found otherwise only Daniel 10:16, Daniel 11:6; 1 Chronicles 29:14; 2 Chronicles 2:5; 2 Chronicles 13:20; 2 Chronicles 22:9.
8–9. Daniel was left alone, and fell motionless, as if stunned, upon the earth.
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.9. And I heard the voice, &c.] or, the sound (twice): see on Daniel 10:6. then was I in, &c.] R.V. then was I fallen into a deep sleep. The clause appears to describe, not the effect of the words which Daniel heard, but the state in which he already was, when he heard them. On the expression a deep (or dead) sleep, see on Daniel 8:18.
on my face, with my face, &c.] cf. Daniel 8:17-18.
And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.10. An invisible hand, touching him, reassured him, and partly raised him up.
set me] lit. caused me to move to and fro or totter (see on Amos 4:8), i.e. here, as the context shews, ‘set me tottering upon my knees,’ &c.: so R.V. marg. Cf. 2Es 5:15.
10–18. Daniel is gradually revived and reassured.
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.11. And he said unto me] The speaker is the dazzling being described in Daniel 10:5-6.
thou man greatly beloved] greatly desired, lit. man of desirablenesses: see on Daniel 9:23.
stand upright] lit. stand upon thy standing, the idiom explained on Daniel 8:18.
for now am I sent unto thee] now, i.e. (Daniel 9:22) at last, after the delay described in Daniel 10:12.
trembling] that I should have been accosted by a being so august. The word, as Ezra 10:9 (not as Daniel 10:7, above).
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.12. set thine heart] lit. give thine heart, i.e. apply thyself: a late idiom, found otherwise only in 1 Chronicles 22:19; 2 Chronicles 11:16; Ecclesiastes 1:13; Ecclesiastes 1:17; Ecclesiastes 7:21; Ecclesiastes 8:9; Ecclesiastes 8:16.
to understand] viz. the future destiny of Israel. Anxious questionings on the future of his people were the occasion of his prolonged mourning and abstinence (Daniel 10:2-3).
and to humble thyself before thy God] The verb, though it may be used more generally (Psalm 107:17), is applied here, as in Ezra 8:21 (‘then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek of him a straight way,’ &c.), to the self-denial and mortification accompanying a fast. The more common (and technical) expression in the same sense is to humble (or [R.V.] afflict) the soul: see Leviticus 16:29; Leviticus 16:31; Leviticus 23:27; Leviticus 23:29; Leviticus 23:32; Numbers 29:7 (all of the fast of the Day of Atonement); Isaiah 58:3; Isaiah 58:5; Psalm 35:13 (‘I humbled my soul in fasting’); in a more general sense, Numbers 30:13 (of a vow of self-denial). The corresponding subst. ta‘ănith has the same meaning in Ezra 9:5 (R.V. marg.); and regularly in post-Biblical Hebrew (the Mishnic treatise ‘Ta‘anith’ deals with fasting).
and I am come because of thy words] i.e. the prayer implied in Daniel 10:2-3. ‘I am come’ is resumed at the beginning of Daniel 10:14, the explanation of the angel’s delay in Daniel 10:13 being parenthetical.
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.13. The opposition, for 21 days (cf. Daniel 10:2), of the ‘prince,’ i.e. the patron-angel, of Persia, prevented the dazzling being from reaching Daniel sooner.
the prince of the kingdom of Persia] its patron- or guardian-angel. The doctrine of tutelary angels, presiding over the destinies of particular nations, though there appears a trace of the idea in Isaiah 24:21, and according to some commentators, in Psalms 82, is found for the first time distinctly in the O.T. in this prophecy of Dan. (Daniel 10:13; Daniel 10:20-21, Daniel 11:1, Daniel 12:1). In the earlier books of the O.T. angels appear merely as the ‘messengers’ of Jehovah, with little or no personal character or distinctness of their own: in the later books of the O.T. grades and differences begin to be recognised among them; particular angels are appropriated to particular purposes or functions; and they begin to receive individual names (see below). The origin of the idea of patron-angels is matter of conjecture: even as applied to Israel, it evidently signifies more than is implied in such passages as Exodus 23:20; Exodus 23:23; Exodus 32:34; Exodus 33:2 (which speak of an angel leading Israel to its home in Canaan). According to some (see the art. Angel in the Encycl. Biblica, col. 108), they are the ancient ‘gods of the nations,’—which, according to Deuteronomy 29:26 (cf. Daniel 4:19), are ‘allotted’ by Jehovah to the several peoples of the earth,—transformed into ‘angels,’ under the teachings of a more consistent monotheism, for the purpose of being more distinctly subordinated to Him; according to others (see the art. Angel in Hastings’ Dict. of the Bible, p. 96 b), the idea is due to the tendencies which arose in later times, (1) of conceiving God as ruling the world by intermediate agencies, and (2) of personifying abstract conceptions, such as the ‘spirit,’ or genius, of a nation, and of locating such personified forces in the supersensible world, whence they ruled the destinies of men. Other passages in which the same idea is found are Sir 17:17 ἑκάστῳ ἔθνει κατέστησεν ἡγούμενον); and Deuteronomy 32:8 LXX. (‘he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God [אל for ישראל],’ a reading thought by some moderns to be the original). The later Jews developed the doctrine further, teaching, for instance, that each of the 70 nations mentioned in Genesis 10 had its Angel-Prince, who defended its interests, and pleaded its cause with God (cf. the Targ. of Ps.-Jon. on Genesis 11:7-8 and Deuteronomy 32:8; and Weber, System der Altsynag. Theol., p. 165 f.).
Michael] the patron-angel of the Jews (Daniel 10:21, Daniel 12:1). The idea of the passage is that the fortunes of nations are determined by the angels representing them in heaven: the success or failure of these regulating the success or failure of the nations themselves. Cf. Isaiah 24:21.
As was remarked in the last note but one, it is not till the later books of the O.T. that angels begin to receive names. The only angels mentioned by name in O.T. and N.T. are ‘the Satan’ (i.e. the unfriendly Opposer or Thwarter: see Davidson’s note on Job 1:6), Job 1-2, Zechariah 3:1-2, 1 Chronicles 21:1 [altered from the parallel, 2 Samuel 24:1], and frequently in the N.T.; Michael, here and Daniel 10:21, Daniel 12:1, Judges 9, Revelation 12:7; and Gabriel, Daniel 8:16; Daniel 9:21, Luke 1:19; Luke 1:26.
In the extra-canonical books other names of angels appear. Thus in the Book of Tobit, an angel Raphael is named, who, disguised as a man, performs various offices for Tobit and Tobias (Tob 3:17, Tob 5:4, &c.); in Tob 12:15 (cf. Daniel 10:12), he is said to be ‘one of the seven holy angels [cf. Enoch lxxxi. 5 ‘those seven holy ones,’ xc. 21, 22] which present the prayers of the saints’ to God. In 2 (4) Esdr. 4:1, 5:20, 10:28, Uriel is mentioned; and in Daniel 4:36 (R.V.) Jeremiel, the ‘archangel.’ In the book of Enoch many names of angels occur: in ix. 1 [see the Greek text, in Charles’ ed., p. 333] and elsewhere, Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel; in xx. 1–7 (p. 356f., Charles) the names and offices of seven principal angels, or ‘archangels,’ are enumerated (Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Sariel, Gabriel, and Remeiel); in xl. 2–10, those of four principal angels, called here ‘presences’ (cf. Isaiah 63:9), Michael, Rufael (Raphael), Gabriel, and Phanuel (פנואל): the names of many fallen angels, who seduced the children of men (Genesis 6:2; Genesis 6:5), are also given (vi. 7, viii. 1–3, lxix. 1–15, &c.). See, further, on the names and functions of angels in the later Jewish Angelology, Weber, l. c. p. 161 ff.; Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus, ii. 745 ff.; and cf. A. B. Davidson’s art. Angel in Hastings’ Dict. of the Bible.
one of the chief princes] The reference is evidently to some group of superior angels, or (to adopt the later Greek expression) ‘archangels.’ In the book of Enoch, as has just been shewn, sometimes four angels (see esp. xl. 2–9), sometimes seven, are distinguished above the rest. Among the later Jews (Edersheim, l.c. p. 748 f.; Midrash Rabba on Numbers 2:20) Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael were usually regarded as the four principal angels, privileged to stand immediately about the throne of God; but seven are mentioned, not only in Enoch xx. 1–7, lxxxi. 5, xc. 21, but also in Tob 12:15 (see the last note), and Revelation 8:2 (‘the seven angels which stand before God’); and probably these seven are alluded to here. Cf. Judges 9, where Michael is called the ‘archangel.’
Michael is the warrior-angel (cf. Revelation 12:7), whose special office it is to protect the interests of Israel; in Enoch xx. 5 he is described as ὁ εῖς τῶν ἁγίων ἀγγέλων ὃς ἐπὶ τῶν τοῦ λαοῦ ἀγαθῶν τέτακται [καὶ] ἐπὶ τῷ λαῷ; in the Assumption of Moses x. 2 (ed. Charles, 1897) he appears to be the ‘angel’ who avenges Israel on their enemies at the end of the world; in the legend quoted in Judges 9 (see the patristic quotations, in Charles, l. c. p. 106 ff.), it is he who, as the angelic patron of Israel, defends the body of Moses against the devil (who claims it on the ground that Moses has been guilty of the murder of the Egyptians). For other extra-Biblical references to Michael, see Hastings’ Dict. of the Bible, s. v.
remained there] properly, was left over there (the word used implying that others had departed, or been destroyed, Genesis 32:24; 1 Samuel 30:9; 1 Kings 19:10; Amos 6:9), though the meaning of the expression here is far from certain. According to some it is simply I remained there, which, however, does not do justice to the word used; according to v. Lengerke, Ges., and Keil, it is I had the superiority, i.e. obtained the victory (cf. Luther, da behielt ich den Sieg), the ‘prince’ of Persia having been, at least temporarily (see Daniel 10:20), disabled; according to Ewald, it is I was superfluous there, i.e. (R.V. marg.) I was no longer needed. Meinh. and Behrm. follow LXX. and Theod. in reading and I left him there (הותרתיו for נותרתי); but this verb means not to leave simply, but to leave over or remaining (viz. from what has been taken elsewhere, Ezekiel 39:28, or destroyed, Exodus 10:15; Exodus 16:19 al.): so that it is doubtful whether it would here be suitable. Perhaps, on the whole, we may acquiesce in the rend. was left over (viz. in the conflict): the ‘prince of Persia,’ for the time, succumbed; the angel, with Michael’s aid, overcame his opposition, and so was able to come to Daniel.
beside (Nehemiah 8:4) the kings of Persia] Both the plural, and also the statement itself that the angel, after his conflict, should have found himself ‘beside’ the kings of Persia, are strange. It is probable that we should read (with LXX., Meinh., Behrm.) ‘beside the prince of the kings of Persia.’
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.14. And I am come to make thee understand, &c.] cf. Daniel 8:16, Daniel 9:22; also Daniel 9:23 b.
what shall befall thy people in the end of the days] The sentence seems to be framed on the model of Genesis 49:1. On the ‘end (a different word from that occurring in Daniel 8:17; Daniel 8:19) of the days,’ see on Daniel 2:28. Here the expression denotes the age of Antiochus Epiphanes.
for there is yet a vision for the days] viz. the days just mentioned: a vision, relating to these, remains still to be told. Or, altering the point which indicates the article, for the vision is yet for (many) days: it relates to the ‘end of the days,’ not to the present; cf. Daniel 8:17 b, 26 b.
And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.15. In spite of the command not to fear (Daniel 10:12), and the encouraging nature of the words which followed (especially Daniel 10:12), Daniel does not recover his composure; and is only gradually reassured in the sequel (Daniel 10:16-19).
I set …, and was dumb] As yet, he stood with his eyes fixed on the ground, dreading to look up and speechless.
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.16. A second touch restores Daniel’s power of speech.
one like the similitude, &c.] not an actual man, but a figure or appearance resembling a man. The word rendered similitude is the one which in the visions of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:5; Ezekiel 1:10; Ezekiel 1:13; Ezekiel 1:16; Ezekiel 1:22; Ezekiel 1:26; Ezekiel 1:28; Ezekiel 8:2; Ezekiel 10:1; Ezekiel 10:10; Ezekiel 10:21-22) is rendered regularly by likeness: the variation here is presumably for the purpose of avoiding the juxtaposition of ‘like’ and ‘likeness.’
touched my lips] cf.—though the expression is not quite the same, and the purpose is in each case different—Isaiah 6:7 (‘made it—the hot coal—touch my lips’), Jeremiah 1:9 (‘made it—his hand—touch my mouth’). The touch having restored Daniel’s power of speech, he hastens to excuse his confusion: the vision, he says, had overpowered him.
to him that stood in front of me] The dazzling being, whom Daniel had seen in Daniel 10:5-6.
my lord] 1 Samuel 1:15; 1 Samuel 1:26; 1 Samuel 22:12, &c.; Zechariah 1:9; Zechariah 4:4-5; Zechariah 4:13; Zechariah 6:4.
by reason of the vision my throes were turned upon me] i.e. came suddenly upon me. The word rendered throes is said properly of the pains of a woman in travail (Isaiah 13:8); and the whole phrase occurs in 1 Samuel 4:19 of the pains of labour suddenly seizing Ichabod’s mother. The figure is thus a strong one: it describes Daniel as being as prostrate and helpless as a woman in the pains of labour. Cf. Isaiah 21:3, where it is used similarly to describe the prostration produced by an alarming vision.
and I retained no strength] Daniel 10:8, end.
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.17. talk with this my lord] with a being so glorious and terrible.
and as for me, straightway &c.] either from now (i.e. from just now) there remaineth &c. (so most commentators); or (Keil) from now (i.e. henceforth) there will remain no strength in me,—so paralysed, viz. am I. The latter rendering is in accordance with the meaning of ‘from now’ elsewhere; the former expresses a thought harmonizing better with the clause which follows. ‘Remain’ is lit. stand, i.e. maintain itself: cf. Ecclesiastes 2:9; and ḳûm in Joshua 2:11.
neither is there breath, &c.] a hyperbole. Cf. (of actual death) 1 Kings 17:17; also, with ‘spirit’ for ‘breath,’ of the effects of fear, as here, Joshua 2:11; and of wonder, 1 Kings 10:5.
Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me,18. one like the appearance of a man] ‘appearance,’ as in Daniel 8:15, and often in the visions of Ezek. (Ezekiel 1:13-14; Ezekiel 1:26-28, Ezekiel 8:2, Ezekiel 10:1, Ezekiel 42:11).
strengthened me] i.e. both restored my physical strength, and also ‘encouraged’ me, as the same word is rendered in Deuteronomy 1:38; Deuteronomy 3:28.
18, 19. A third touch (see Daniel 10:10; Daniel 10:16), followed by a second reassurance (see Daniel 10:11-14) on the part of the dazzling being, restores Daniel’s composure entirely.
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.19. And he said] The dazzling being described in Daniel 10:5-6, who has been speaking in Daniel 10:11 a, 12–14, and whom Daniel had addressed in Daniel 10:16 b, 17. Not the angel mentioned in Daniel 10:16 a, 18.
Fear not (Daniel 10:12), O man greatly desired] Daniel 10:11.
be strong … was strengthened] as in Daniel 10:18. Cf. 2 Samuel 10:12, A.V., R.V. ‘be of good courage, and let us play the man’; Heb., exactly as here, ‘be strong, and let us strengthen ourselves (or be strengthened)’; Ezra 7:28.
20–11:1. Before, however, the speaker proceeds to disclose the future to Daniel (Daniel 11:2 ff.), in accordance with the promise of Daniel 10:14, he acquaints him with certain facts relating to the celestial world, calculated to inspire him with confidence: in himself, and Michael, the people of Israel have two champions able to defend them effectually against the assaults of heathen powers.
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.20. Knowest thou, &c.] A rhetorical question, designed to recall to Daniel what had been said in Daniel 10:12; Daniel 10:14, and to indicate to him its importance.
and now will I return, &c.] to carry on and complete the successes begun in Daniel 10:13. ‘Now’ must mean, as soon as possible, as soon as I have given thee this revelation (Daniel 11:2 ff.): I cannot tarry here longer than is necessary, as I have still to contend in heaven against the enemies of Israel.
and when I go forth (viz. from the contest with the ‘prince’ of Persia), lo, the prince of Greece (Heb. Javan, as Daniel 8:21) will come in] As soon as the conflict with Persia is ended, one with Greece will begin: ‘go forth’ and ‘come in,’ as 2 Kings 11:5; 2 Kings 11:7. It would be more in accordance with the usual sense of go forth in such a connexion as the present, to understand it of going forth to the contest with the prince of Persia (cf. of going forth on a military expedition, with to battle expressed, Deuteronomy 20:1; Deuteronomy 21:10; without it, Jdg 9:29, 2 Samuel 11:1; 2 Samuel 18:2 (end), 3, 6, 2 Kings 9:21, &c.); but unless the future is greatly foreshortened, or ‘go forth’ is understood not of proceeding to, but of continuing in, the conflict (so Keil), this interpretation agrees hardly with the history; for the empire of Alexander and his successors did not arise till two centuries after the time of Cyrus.
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.21. Howbeit] ‘but’ is not strong enough: cf. Daniel 10:7. It is difficult to be sure what the thought tacitly opposed is: it may be, ‘Howbeit (though I cannot stay long, Daniel 10:20 a), I can nevertheless tell thee this (Daniel 11:2 ff.) about the future’; or ‘Howbeit (though the contest, Daniel 10:20 b, may seem to be an endless one), I will tell thee about the future, for it contains, at least towards the end, an outlook of hope and consolation.’
I will declare (Daniel 2:2) unto thee that which is inscribed in the writing of truth] i.e. the book in which God has inscribed beforehand, as truly as they will be fulfilled, the destinies of mankind: cf. Psalm 139:16. The figure is meant as a concrete expression of the truth that the future is pre-determined by God. The later apocalyptic writers often speak, in the same sense, of the ‘heavenly tables,’ in which the deeds and events of the future stand recorded; see e.g. Enoch lxxxi. 1, 2, xciii. 2, 3, ciii. 2, 3, cvi. 19, cvii. 1; and cf. the note in Charles’ ed. p. 132 f.
inscribed] as in Aram. (Daniel 5:24-25, Daniel 6:8; Daniel 6:10) and New Hebrew. The word implies a more formal act than ‘written.’ Noted in Old Engl. has the force of inscribed: cf. note in Isaiah 30:8 for חקק, ‘cut in,’ ‘engrave.’
and there is not one that strengtheneth himself with me against these, except Michael your prince] in my contest with the ‘princes’ of Persia and Greece (Daniel 10:20), only Michael supports me. The words seem to connect with the end of Daniel 10:20, rather than with the first part of Daniel 10:21, which is perhaps to be regarded as parenthetical.
strengtheneth himself with me] i.e. shews himself to be my valiant ally: cf. 1 Chronicles 11:10, 2 Chronicles 16:9 (where ‘in the behalf of’ is lit. with, as here), 2 Chronicles 17:1.