Daniel 7:15
I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the middle of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) Midst.—See margin. The body was regarded as the sheath of the soul.

Daniel 7:15-18. I Daniel was grieved in my spirit — Upon account of the extraordinary changes which seemed to be signified by the vision, the particulars of which troubled me, though I had not a perfect apprehension of their meaning. I came near unto one of them that stood by — Namely, to one of the angels who were attending as ministering spirits. And asked him the truth, &c. — Desired him to give me a clear understanding of all this. So he told me, &c. — Explained to me the true and plain meaning of these things. These great beasts are four kings — Four kingdoms, or monarchies. So the word king is used Isaiah 23:15. Which shall arise out of the earth — Which shall raise themselves merely upon carnal, worldly grounds and considerations, and that by wars and troubles, and which shall think of and concern themselves with only earthly things; whereas the kingdom of Christ is described, in the next verse, as a heavenly, spiritual kingdom, fitting men for heaven. But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom — When the earthly kingdom shall be destroyed, the heavenly, or spiritual kingdom of the saints shall commence; they shall enter upon it on earth, but shall retain it in heaven for ever. The Chaldee word עליונין, rendered Most High, is literally high ones, as it is translated in the margin: and these saints are indeed high ones, being children and heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. Sometimes, however, the one true God is spoken of in the plural number by way of eminence, as Joshua 24:19, where it is in the Hebrew, He is the holy Gods. The expression may therefore mean as we have it rendered.7:15-28 It is desirable to obtain the right and full sense of what we see and hear from God; and those that would know, must ask by faithful and fervent prayer. The angel told Daniel plainly. He especially desired to know respecting the little horn, which made war with the saints, and prevailed against them. Here is foretold the rage of papal Rome against true Christians. St. John, in his visions and prophecies, which point in the first place at Rome, has plain reference to these visions. Daniel had a joyful prospect of the prevalence of God's kingdom among men. This refers to the second coming of our blessed Lord, when the saints shall triumph in the complete fall of Satan's kingdom. The saints of the Most High shall possess the kingdom for ever. Far be it from us to infer from hence, that dominion is founded on grace. It promises that the gospel kingdom shall be set up; a kingdom of light, holiness, and love; a kingdom of grace, the privileges and comforts of which shall be the earnest and first-fruits of the kingdom of glory. But the full accomplishment will be in the everlasting happiness of the saints, the kingdom that cannot be moved. The gathering together the whole family of God will be a blessedness of Christ's coming.I Daniel was grieved in my spirit - That is, I was troubled; or my heart was made heavy and sad. This was probably in part because he did not fully understand the meaning of the vision, and partly on account of the fearful and momentous nature of what was indicated by it. So the apostle John Rev 5:4 says, "And I wept much because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book."

In the midst of my body - Margin, as in the Chaldee, sheath. The body is undoubtedly referred to, and is so called as the envelope of the mind - or as that in which the soul is inserted, as the sword is in the sheath, and from which it is drawn out by death. The same metaphor is employed by Pliny: Donec cremato co inimici remeanti animae velut vaginam ademerint. So, too, a certain philosopher, who was slighted by Alexander the Great on account of his ugly face, is said to have replied, Corpus hominis nil est nisi vagina gladii in qua anima reconditur. - Gesenius. Compare Lengerke, in loc. See also Job 27:8, "When God taketh away his soul;" or rather draws out his soul, as a sword is drawn out of the sheath. Compare the note at that place. See also Buxtorf's Lexicon Tal. p. 1307. The meaning here is plain - that Daniel felt sad and troubled in mind, and that this produced a sensible effect on his body.

And the visions of my head troubled me - The head is here regarded as the seat of the intellect, and he speaks of these visions as if they were seen by the head. That is, they seemed to pass before his eyes.

15. body—literally, "sheath": the body being the "sheath" of the soul. I was transported even to astonishment with the vision, it was so strange, surprising, and terrible to me. I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body,.... Or "sheath" (a); the soul being in the body as a sword in its scabbard; where it was "cut" (b) and pierced, as the word signifies; and was wounded, distressed, and grieved at the vision seen; not at the sight of the Son of man, and the glorious and everlasting kingdom given to him; but of the four beasts, and especially the last, and more particularly the little horn, and the look, and words, and actions of that, as well as the awful scene of judgment presented to his view:

and the visions of my head troubled me; the things he saw, which appeared to his fancy as real things, gave him a great deal of uneasiness, and chiefly because he did not understand the meaning of them; it was not so much the things themselves, as ignorance of them, that cut him to the heart, and grieved and troubled him; for what is more so to an inquisitive mind, that has got a hint of something great and useful to be known, but cannot as yet come to the knowledge of it?

(a) "in medio vaginae", Montanus; "intra vaginam", Munster, Vatablus. (b) "transfixus est", Junius & Tremellius, Polanus; "succisus, vel excisus est", Munster.

I Daniel was {d} grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.

(d) Because of the strangeness of the vision.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. As for me Daniel, my spirit was pained] or distressed: in modern English we should not say ‘grieved’ in such a connexion.

in the midst of the sheath] or, with a change of punctuation, its sheath, fig. for the body, as the soul’s sheath, or receptacle. The word is of Persian origin (nidâna, ‘vessel,’ ‘receptacle’): it occurs once again in late Heb., 1 Chronicles 21:27, of the sheath of a sword; and (in the form lidneh for nidneh) several times in the Targums (e.g. Ezekiel 21:8) in the same sense. Levy quotes two passages from the later Jewish literature where it is used in the same application as here: Sanh. 108a ‘that their soul should not return to its sheath,’ and B’rêshith Rabbâ § 26 (p. 118 in Wünsche’s transl.) ‘in the hour (viz. of resurrection) when I bring back the spirit to its sheath, I do not bring back their spirits to their sheaths.’ The usage is nevertheless a singular one; and these two passages may be simply based upon this one of Daniel. The emendation on this account (בגין דנה for בגו נדנה) has been proposed (Weiss, Buhl, Marti); and LXX. (ἐν τούτοις) may partly support it: it is, however, some objection to it that בגין, though found in the Palest. Targums, does not otherwise occur in Biblical Aramaic[271].

[271] Nestle would read simply ‘in my body’ (בגויתי, or בגושמי).

troubled] alarmed (Daniel 4:5). Visions of my head, as Daniel 7:1 and Daniel 4:5.

15–28. The explanation of the vision.Verses 15-18. - I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth, But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. The version of the Septuagint differs in some points from the Massoretic. In the fifteenth verse there is no reference to the spirit being in the body; it adds "of the night" after "visions," and changes "my head" into "my thoughts." The sixteenth verse presents no essential points of difference. In the seventeenth verse the differences are more considerable, "These great beasts are four kingdoms, which shall be destroyed from the earth." There seems a good deal to be said for the reading behind this version. The first variation, "kingdoms" instead of "kings," may be due to logic, but it has further "destroyed from" instead of "arising out of," which cannot have resulted from the Massoretic. The verb qoom, "to stand up," followed by rain, "from," is not elsewhere used in the sense which we find in the Massoretic here. When one is prone on the earth, as Saul before the revelation of the witch of Endor, "he stood up from the earth" (1 Samuel 28:23, Targum Jonathan) - word for word as here. When Abraham (Genesis 23:3, Targum Onkelos) arose from before his dead, we have a similar construction. In 2 Samuel 11:2, "David arose from his couch." This construction involves Change of position, either directly or implicitly. It is difficult to understand how the one reading arose from the other. The condensation of the sense as it appears in the Septuagint is not likely to be attained by a falsarius. In ver. 18 there is nothing calling for remark, save that the reduplication of "for ever and ever "is omitted. While Theodotion is nearer the Massoretic text, he too differs from it in some points - his rendering of nidnay by ἕξις. Schleusner thinks this probably a false reading for ἐκστάσις. However, in Judges 14:9 we have ἕξις used for "body." In the seventeenth verse we have "kingdoms" instead of "kings." The last clause agrees with the Massoretic, but there is subjoined αἱ ἀρθήσονται, "which shall be taken away" - an addition that suggests that some of the manuscripts before Theodotion had the same reading as that before the Septuagint translator. He renders yeqoomoon rain by ἀναστήσονται ἐπί, showing that at all events he had a different preposition. The reduplication of "for ever and ever" is omitted. The Peshitta ver. 15 has "in the midst of my couch" instead of "in the midst of my body." In the sixteenth verse it resolves the bystanders into "servants." In the seventeenth verse the preposition is not rain, but 'al. Jerome, instead of corpus, "body," has in his, "in these," - as if he had read b'idena instead of nidnay; he also in ver. 17 reads regna, not reges. The Mas-seretic text has some peculiarities. The first words afford one of the rare instances where we have the 'ithpael instead of the hithpael; it may be due to scribal correction. In the seventeenth verse 'inoon (K'thib) affords an instance of the frequent Syriasm in Daniel. The "Most High" is rendered by a plural adjective, עֶלְיונִין ('elyoneen); it is explained differently. Kranichfeld and Stuart regard it as pluralis excellentiae. Bevan and Behrmann regard it as a case of attraction, the latter giving as parallel instances, hence 'ayleem (Psalm 29:1) and benee nebeem. The difficulty remains that neither the pluralis excellentiae nor change of number is known in Aramaic. The fact that this strange form has produced no effect on any of the versions makes the reading suspicious. Professor Fuller sees in this word a proof of Babylonian influence, but he does not assign his reason, We now enter a new stage in the development of this vision. After the wonderful assize has ended, Daniel dreams that he is still standing among these innumerable multitudes, and, feeling that all these things are symbols, he is grieved because he cannot comprehend what is meant by them. So from one of those attendants who crowd the canvas of his vision he asks an explanation, or rather "the certainty," of this vision; he wishes to know whether it is s mere vision or of the nature of a revelation. This is a perfectly natural psychological condition in dreaming. In the act of dreaming we question ourselves whether we are dreaming or not; we may even ask one of the characters in our dream the question. The interpretation is interesting, but has been already, to some extent forestalled. A difficulty is seen by some commentators - how these four kingdoms could be said to arise, when one of them was nearing its fall. If we take the reading of the Septuagint, this difficulty is obviated. Saadia Gaon makes these four kings the nominative to the verb "receive" (wrongly translated in our Authorized Version, "take"), and maintains each of these empires shall hold the kingdom of Israel until the Messiah shall come. This view would necessitate grammatically that the Messiah should never come, but that the reign of these four world-empires should be prolonged into eternity. "The saints of the Most High," in the thought of Daniel would be, of necessity, the Jews; for we need not discuss the possibility of the angels being the holy ones implied here - they always have the kingdoms of the world under them - but we may see the Israel of faith in this figure. The believers in Christ are the true Israel, and the kingdom of heaven which Christ set up is thus promised to fill the earth. The Church is thus the true ultimate state. If we regard the Church as a society formed of those who are mutually attracted to each other. have a mutual love for each other, end have a common love to God, then all the history of the world is tending towards the establishment of such a society, universal as the world. National hatreds are much less acute now than they were. Despite the efforts to rouse class against class, there seems more sympathy between classes than there was. The final break-down of national and class oppositions, not necessarily by the abolition of either class or nation, will prepare the way for the Christ-commanded love which is the tie that unites the members of the true eternal Church of God. In Daniel 2:42 the same is aid of the toes of the feet, and in Daniel 2:43 the comparison to iron and clay is defined as the mixture of these two component parts. As the iron denotes the firmness of the kingdom, so the clay denotes its brittleness. The mixing of iron with clay represents the attempt to bind the two distinct and separate materials into one combined whole as fruitless, and altogether in vain. The mixing of themselves with the seed of men (Daniel 2:43), most interpreters refer to the marriage politics of the princes. They who understand by the four kingdoms the monarchy of Alexander and his followers, think it refers to the marriages between the Seleucidae and the Ptolemies, of which indeed there is mention made in Daniel 11:6 and Daniel 11:17, but not here; while Hofm. thinks it relates to marriages, such as those of the German Kaiser Otto II and the Russian Grand-Duke Wladimir with the daughters of the Kaiser of Eastern Rome. But this interpretation is rightly rejected by Klief., as on all points inconsistent with the text. The subject to מתערבין is not the kings, of whom mention is made neither in Daniel 2:43 nor previously. For the two feet as well as the ten toes denote not kings, but parts of the fourth kingdom; and even in Daniel 2:44, by מלכיּא, not kings in contradistinction to the kingdoms, but the representatives of the parts of the kingdom denoted by the feet and the toes as existing contemporaneously, are to be understood, from which it cannot rightly be concluded in any way that kings is the subject to מתערבין (shall mingle themselves).

As, in the three preceding kingdoms, gold, silver, and brass represent the material of these kingdoms, i.e., their peoples and their culture, so also in the fourth kingdom iron and clay represent the material of the kingdoms arising out of the division of this kingdom, i.e., the national elements out of which they are constituted, and which will and must mingle together in them. If, then, the "mixing themselves with the seed of men" points to marriages, it is only of the mixing of different tribes brought together by external force in the kingdom by marriages as a means of amalgamating the diversified nationalities. But the expression is not to be limited to this, although התערב, Ezra 9:2, occurs of the mixing of the holy nation with the heathen by marriage. The peculiar expression אנששׁא זרע, the seed of men, is not of the same import as זרע שׁכבת, but is obviously chosen with reference to the following contrast to the divine Ruler, Daniel 2:44., so as to place (Kran.) the vain human endeavour of the heathen rulers in contrast with the doings of the God of heaven; as in Jeremiah 31:27 אדם זרע is occasioned by the contrast of בּהמה זרע. The figure of mixing by seed is derived from the sowing of the field with mingled seed, and denotes all the means employed by the rulers to combine the different nationalities, among which the connubium is only spoken of as the most important and successful means.

But this mixing together will succeed just as little as will the effort to bind together into one firm coherent mass iron and clay. The parts mixed together will not cleave to each other. Regarding להון, see under Daniel 2:20.

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