The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Daniel 10

Dan 10:1

Dan 10 -- 12: Daniel's most detailed vision of the future: (1) Daniel's preparation to receive the vision (Dan 10:1 through Dan 11:1); (2) The near future (Dan 11:2-45); (3) The distant future (Dan 12:1-4); and (4) The end of Israel's trials (Dan 12:5-13).

THE THIRD YEAR OF CYRUS KING OF PERSIA: The third year of Cyrus' rule as king over Babylon was 536 BC. Cyrus had issued his decree allowing the Jews to return to their land and to rebuild their temple in 538 BC. Some of them had departed that same year under Zerubbabel's leadership. They had reinstituted the sacrifices by 537 BC (Ezra 3:6), and by 536 BC they had begun to rebuild the temple (Ezra 3:8). Daniel would have been in his 80s by this time, and his age may account for his not returning to the Promised Land. Daniel remained in government service until the first year of Cyrus (538 BC, Dan 1:21), but he remained in Babylon for several additional years, apparently in retirement.

WHO WAS CALLED BELTESHAZZAR: Perhaps Daniel's Babylonian name appears again here to assure the reader that this was the same Daniel whom we met in preceding chapters (cf Dan 1:7). He was the Daniel who had unusual skill in understanding visions and dreams (Dan 1:17).

Dan 10:2

I MOURNED FOR THREE WEEKS: And surely during this time he prayed exceedingly as well (cp Dan 9:2-14). Evidently the previous revelations from God and the welfare of the Jews who had returned to Palestine but were encountering opposition were the reasons for Daniel's grave concern (Ezra 4:1-5,24). Even though many Israelites were returning to Palestine, God had already revealed that they would experience trouble there.

Dan 10:4

THE TWENTY-FOURTH DAY OF THE FIRST MONTH: Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread fell on the fourteenth through the twenty-first days of the first month. The Jews did not observe these festivals in captivity as they had formerly in their own land. Three days after these important memorial days God gave Daniel a vision that he alone saw (cp Dan 12:5).

Dan 10:5

A MAN: Almost certainly an angel. ("Man" is "ish", as in Dan 9:21; see note there.) The similarities between this man and the one Ezekiel and John saw argue for his being an angel (cp Eze 1:26-28; Rev 1:13-16), as does his message (v 13).

DRESSED IN LINEN: Expensive linen dress is what the priests in Israel wore (Lev 6:10; 16:32; 1Sa 22:18), and it set them off as God's special servants.

A BELT OF THE FINEST GOLD AROUND HIS WAIST: Likewise, the sash around this angel's waist, evidently embroidered with the best gold, would also have identified him as a special person.

THE FINEST GOLD: KJV has "fine gold of Uphaz". Uphaz may be equivalent to Ophir.

Dan 10:6

// Eze 1:14-16; Rev 1:13-16.

CHRYSOLITE: Or "beryl" (AV). Beryl was one of the stones set into the breastpiece of judgment (Exo 28:20). The mysterious "wheels" of Ezekiel's vision were, in appearance, like beryl (Eze 1:16).

Dan 10:7

Daniel's companions, sensing that something awesome was happening (cf Acts 9:7; 22:9), hid themselves while Daniel viewed what God showed him.

Dan 10:8

Daniel's personal reaction to this vision was also similar to John's (Rev 1:17; cp Dan 8:27).

Dan 10:11

HIGHLY ESTEEMED: The Heb "ish hemudot" literally mean "man of preciousness". Daniel was precious to God not only because he was one of God's chosen people but also because God had been precious to him.

Dan 10:12

"This verse constitutes a great encouragement to those whose prayers are not answered immediately. The cause of the delay may be something totally unknown to us; yet although the answer may be delayed, the prayer is always heard immediately" (Feinberg).

Dan 10:13

Evidently the angel who spoke to Daniel had had some duty in Persia that involved the kings or rulers of that land. However, having received a commission from God to visit Daniel he was not able to break away to deliver it because of the work he had to do in Persia. But the angel Michael visited this other angel and helped him accomplish his task, so that could get away to visit Daniel.

"The angels, although immortal sinless servants of God, are limited in their physical and intellectual powers. A great number of Scriptures state or imply these truths: Mat 24:36; 1Pe 1:12; Exo 23:20...; 31:17; Gen 32:24,26; 22:12; 18:21" (WDan).

THE PRINCE OF THE PERSIAN KINGDOM RESISTED ME...: "Men, whose actions the angels have to guide, are allowed the unfettered exercise of their wills, and the angels have to influence them to exercise those wills in a given direction, by regulating the circumstances around them. If you set fire to a house, you cause all its inmates to leave, without interfering with their free wills. It is the exercise of their free wills that leads them to endeavour to escape the fire. So the angels, by disposing circumstances, can influence men to act in a certain way without interfering with their volitions. Such a mode of carrying out the work entrusted to them makes their work a delicate and interesting one, and provides scope for the possibility of that kind of human antagonism which requires careful and persistent arrangement to overcome, as in the case of the Persian emperor, who unwittingly was fighting against an angel in the particular policy he pursued" (WP 230).

Dan 10:14

The angel had come to explain to Daniel what would happen to the Jews in the latter days yet future. Daniel had already received some revelation about what lay ahead for the Jews (Dan 8:23-26; 9:24-27). It was evidently this revelation that puzzled him and led to his requesting clarification in prayer (v 2). What follows in Dan 11:2 -- 12:4 (and ESPECIALLY Dan 12!) is more information on this subject. As in Dan 8:23-26 and Dan 9:24-27, so also Dan 11:2 -- 12:4 contains information about Israel's fate relative to Antiochus Epiphanes in the near future, and information about Israel's fate relative to the tribulations of the distant future, just prior to the Second Coming.

Dan 10:21

THE BOOK OF TRUTH: The "writing of truth" seems to refer to all that God has recorded as truth. This includes Scripture, but it also includes all that is true that God has not revealed. The angel would make part of what God had established as truth known to Daniel. The angel intended this fact to encourage Daniel in view of his having to leave the prophet to return to his other work. Likewise, the fact that Michael stood with this angel in his continuing work would have encouraged Daniel, even though Michael was apparently his only other angelic comrade in this struggle.

This verse may not introduce Dan 11 so much as it does Dan 12: the true "time of the end" prophecy.

YOUR PRINCE: This links Michael with Daniel as a special angel whom God had commissioned to help him and his Jewish brethren (Dan 12:1; cp Rev 12:7; 20:2).
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