|DANIEL - Chapter 10 Commentary
This chapter is a prologue or introduction of spiritual preparation. Daniel has a vision of a visitor who delivers predictions in chapter 11. The disclosures of the vision continue until the end of the book of Daniel. The time would be long before all would be accomplished; and much of it is not yet fulfilled. The succession of the Persian and Grecian monarchies is described, together with the wars that should take place between Syria and Egypt under the Grecian monarchy. Daniel receives the last revelation regarding the future of his people. It 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. It also looks at the powerful protection the covenant people (Jews) shall experience amid the severe oppression they would be exposed. This oppression is allowed by God for their purification.
In summary, Daniel has a series of dreams, visions, and experiences that tell us some of the things that are going to occur from the time of Nebuchadnezzar's destruction of Jerusalem to end times. First Nebuchadnezzar dreams, and Daniel interprets (Dan. 2 and 4); afterwards Daniel himself has a dream, but at that time is only as a vision in a dream of the night (Dan. 7:1-2); then a vision follows in a waking state (Dan. 8:1-3); then he has an interface with Gabriel and learns of the 70 weeks (Dan. 9); and finally, he has his last revelation (Dan. 10–12).
The third year of Cyrus was about 536 B.C. This is equal to Darius' first year. See the commentary on Dan. 9:1 for review of kingdom leadership. Remember Daniel was named Belteshazzar when he was taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. He was probably in the mid 80's years old by this time. A we studied in chapter 9, Daniel was very concerned about his people, the Israelites. He was agonizing so much he is now in deep communications with God. A message is being revealed to Daniel. The message is declared to be truthful and right. Coming from God, that is what we would expect, no matter who the messenger is. There was one thing that was very clear to Daniel; the message was told to him the Israelites were going to be under great stress and wars before the end occurs.
Daniel was in great mourning. He fasted and prayed for three weeks (Hebrew: "three sevens of days"). The terms "pleasant bread" (KJV) or "tasty food" (NASB) not being eaten does not necessarily mean Daniel ate nothing. He did not eat any meat or wine. This narrows the food down to unpleasant, grainy bread-like foods and maybe some vegetables that were not tasty (perhaps roots, plants, etc.). He only drank water. Since he said that he did not anoint himself, that probably means he did not have any baths (where many would used ointments afterward) and he wore coarse cloth or skins.
There is one thing to consider. It would seem that, since Cyrus had allowed the starting of the rebuilding of the Jerusalem about two years earlier, Daniel would be rather happy because people could now go back to their beloved city. However, there were conflicts occurring during those two years that was making it hard for the Israelites who went back. Many Israelites did not go back to Jerusalem because they liked the life in Babylon. After such a long time in Babylon, they found there was enough life in Babylon they did not want to leave. However, the big problem was the troubles the Israelites were having who did go back to Jerusalem. Remember, the Israelites were enemies with the Samaritans. The Samaritans were telling Cyrus that the people that had returned were planning a revolt. About this time, Cyrus became king of Palestine which was included in the Babylonian empire. Darius was heading up Babylon now. Therefore, Cyrus did not want any conflicts.
This vision was given while Daniel was beside the great river Hiddekel (KJV: Hebrew Tigris) or the Tigris (others) which is the third river of the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:14). Obviously, Daniel was not among those who returned to build the Temple in Jerusalem in connection with Cyrus's decree in Dan 9:25. His age (mid-80s) and governmental duties probably prevented him from going.
The 24th day of the first month is the 24th day of the spiritual month of Nisan. Refer to the Jewish Calendar hot link from the Daniel Homepage. Notice that the 21st of Nisan is the end of Passover. Verse 2 says that Daniel had been on a fast. So it is going to be ending on the 24th. This was an ideal time for the three week fast (over the Passover Festival week).
The vision of Daniel is remarkably similar to the description of Jesus that was given by John in Revelation. Read Rev. 1:12-17. Almost certainly the greatly beloved statesman-prophet is here granted a Christophany, an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ.
Daniel raised his head up, looked, and saw a certain (one, unique) person. The person was dressed in linen. The original Greek and the particular use of the word for linen mean white linen. He was girded (wrapped or belted around the waist) with fine or pure gold. Uphaz (ew'faz) is an unidentified source of fine gold (Jer. 10:9; Dan. 10:5) or else a term for fine gold. A related Hebrew term is translated "best gold" (1 Kings 10:18; Isa. 13:12). Uphaz is possibly a copyist's change for Ophir at Jer. 10:9 as indicated by early versions. It is said this was a place where gold where fine gold could be found.
Beryl is a light greenor yellowish precious stone closely related to emeralds and aquamarines. The stones decorated the high priest's breastplate (Exod. 28:20), the king of Tyre (Ezek. 28:13), the man in Daniel's vision (Dan. 10:6), and the eighth foundation of the new Jerusalem (Rev. 21:20). The ornamentation on the shields of Ezekiel's opening vision were colored like beryl (Ezek. 1:16). The beloved man of Song of Solomon 5:14 had beryl in his gold rings. The Hebrew word is Tarshish. That was supposed to have been a town in southern Spain where this stone could be found.
The man's face was like lightning, which would be like a strong gleaming or sharp glittering. Eyes like flaming torches means bright, strong, penetrating eyes that can burn through anything (like falseness). The arms and feet were like the gleam and brightness one sees with polished bronze. (Ezek. 1:7; Rev. 1:15). The sound of his voice is loud and strong like a multitude or tumult (great number of people).
WHO IS THIS MAN? Some say this is a Theophany (God in human form). There are some who say this is a Christophany (Christ in human form before he is born on earth). And some say this is an angel. There are scriptures that describe angels in clothes and beautiful form. In Revelation, the description by John is described as Jesus. Which one is most likely? You will see in verses 12-13 that this person does not seem to be omnipotent (Dan. 10:12-13).
Daniel is the only one who can see the vision. However, something must have greatly frightened and terrorized the men who were with Daniel because they ran away. We do not know who the men were or why they were there. Perhaps they had joined him in his fasting and praying. This is not unlike the happening with Jesus that Paul had on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:7; 22:9).
Daniel was now alone except for the vision. It appeared as if the experience sucked all the energy and strength from Daniel. The same thing happened to the John of Revelation (Rev. 1:17). The greatest and best of men cannot bear the full discoveries of Divine glory. If it were God, the Bible says that for no man can see God and live; but glorified saints see Christ as he is, and can bear the sight. Daniel's looks ["comeliness was turned in me into corruption" (KJV) or "natural color turned to a deathly pallor" (NASB)] turned to a death-like pale color.
Daniel was still able to hear the voice of the vision. When he heard it, he fell into a sleep or, as some commentators say, a swoon (a faint-like sleep which is caused by the lack of blood to the brain). A faint fits the condition of paleness of his face. A similar thing occurred to Daniel earlier (Dan. 8:18).
Daniel was touched on the shoulder and immediately his body started trembling.
Daniel was told he was held with great respect and esteem. He will be able to understand that which he will be told. He was told he now had the strength to stand up. Daniel was told the vision was sent to him. Daniel with great trembling now stood up. See also Dan. 8:18.
Daniel's prayer was heard from the first day of his three-week fast period. Daniel had chastened and humbled himself and thought unselfishly of others. His prayer had been heard.
This is a very hard verse to understand. This is the verse that gives us the thought that this probably is not a Theophany (vision of God). God is omnipotent and does not need help from anyone. The verse infers that he was delayed because of angelic warfare.
The prince of Persia was previously designated as Cyrus (Dan. 8:25). It can be thought that originally Cyrus was to be a deliverer to the Israelites. He was associated with the initial release of the Israelites to return to Jerusalem. Why he was not successful is not known. Perhaps he did not feel competent to handle that massive job. The phrase “prince of the kingdom of Persia,” could refer to a prince ruling over that kingdom (like Cyrus) or to someone designated to minister the state. However, the language is such that it is applicable to an angelic being supposed to preside over a state, or to influence its counsels. Even in Revelation the seven letters in chapters 2 and 3 are thought to be written to the leaders of the churches or to the angels that preside over each church. Most scholars believe the visions were angelic. Clarke's Commentary on the Old Testament says that this vision was probably the angel Gabriel who was helping the prince of Persia. Other commentaries believe the vision is an angel but not necessarily Gabriel. In later verses, it appears the angel could be Gabriel. However, it definitely directs us to believe that it was angelic because the archangel Michael later took his place.
The prince of the kingdom of Persia is most likely a super natural creature, a fallen angel, who tried to direct the human rulers of Persia to oppose God's plan. Evil angels always seek to influence the affairs of nations. Michael, which means "who is like God" (Dan. 10:21; 12:1; Jude 9; Rev. 12:7), is the special guardian of the affairs of Israel (Dan. 12:1) and is designated the archangel (Jude 9). The chief princes shows that there is a hierarchy among the angels (Eph. 1:21). See also "Mystery and Ministery of Angels" on the Daniel web. He had been left there with the kings of Persia. The good angel (Dan 5-6), with Michael's help, was left in a place of pre-eminence in influencing Persia. But the a battle between good and evil angels over the control of nations continues (Rev. 20:3).
The fight referred to in this verse apparently started 21 days ago. That is exactly the length of time of Daniel's fasting and praying. It is apparent that God was going to respond immediately to Daniel. However, the evil angels caused enough of a problem to send an angel to help the prince of Persia (leader, Cyrus). It lasted 21 days and then the angel came to Daniel to give him this vision. Apparently Michael is still there fighting. This is not unusual for angels. Michael is again fighting in Revelation (Rev. 12:7). Review again the Daniel web site for the "Mystery and Ministery of Angels".
Latter days almost always refers to future days culminating in the events surrounding the second coming of Christ (Gen. 49:1). As you read on, see if this Latter days may be referencing the latter days of the Old Testament. The angel had come to tell Daniel of the future, even distant future. At this announcement, Daniel bows his head and could not say a word (become dumb).
One who "resembled a human being" (NASB) or "similitude of the sons of men" (KJV) is thought to be Gabriel by most scholars. It appears Clarke's idea of the angel being Gabriel is right (verse 10:13 commentary). After Gabriel touched Daniel's lips, Daniel was able to talk again.
Daniel now can talk to the angel. He says he retains no strength since the vision came to him. He has a great deal of anguish because he sees the terrible problems his people, the Israelites, are going to have. Daniel says that he, being a lowly servant to God, even communicate with the Divine. He is so weak.
The angel touched Daniel and Daniel became strong again. Daniel was told not to fear. A righteous man has no reason to be apprehensive in the presence of an angel. There was nothing that the angel was about to communicate that should cause him alarm. Daniel then says that he has now received to strength to listen and acknowledge all he is about to hear.
This almost seems to me to be a rhetorical question (no answer required). However, perhaps there is a question whether Daniel knows what is going on because of his loss of strength. Whatever the purpose of the question, Daniel is fully aware of what is happening and is ready, willing, and now able to listen and see. The angel is going back to fight. The prince of Greece is about to come. This prince is probably Alexander the Great who later conquered Persia. The angel will leave the message he came to give and then will return to the war. There will be less to worry about the Hebrews for a while when Alexander takes over. He actually favored the Hebrews.
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