Notes on the Book of Daniel: Chapter 10

v. 1: I think this must be near the end of Daniel’s life.  The captivity of Israel is drawing to a close, so it has been about seventy years since Daniel left Israel as a youth.  This seems like a climactic, rewarding vision, given to him in his old age to explain these future events that concern him and his people.  There are two things mentioned in this verse.

1.  A message, i.e., the revelation itself

2.  A vision, i.e., the explanation of the message.  It is the vision that occupies the rest of the book.  (See 10:7.)

I wonder if the “message” is given in the book of Daniel as one of the earlier visions.  Chapter eight, for instance, has several parallels.  Perhaps the “message” (before the understanding imparted by the “vision”) is what has upset Daniel to the point of fasting and praying as he does here.  Note that at the end of chapter eight, Daniel is confused and upset about the dream of the ram and the goat.  Still, he had that dream over 18 years ago, and it seems odd that it would still bother him.  On the other hand, if the “message” has not upset him, what has?  The children of Israel have been granted permission by Cyrus to go home over two years ago.

I have a theory as to why so much emphasis is placed on Antiochus Epiphanes in this book.  Perhaps it is because Antiochus is the next big crisis that Israel will have to face.    At any rate, I suppose the great war mentioned is between the Ptolemies and the Seleucids.

v. 3: I do not think that Daniel specifically planned to pray for three weeks.  I believe he simply set himself to pray in this way until his prayers were answered; the fact that Gabriel was detained for three weeks seems like the most logical explanation for the length of Daniel’s prayer.

v. 9: Note the parallel phrasing of 8:18.

v. 11: “You are highly esteemed.” Note 9:23.  Daniel has more fear and trembling in this vision.  It makes me wonder if the figure he sees in vs. 5-9 is Christ rather than Gabriel.  In Revelation, John has a vision of Christ that combines the imagery of these verses with the imagery of the Ancient One and the Son of Man in Daniel 7:9-14.  Also, the occasions where someone touches Daniel and gives him strength seem to suggest at least one other presence besides Gabriel’s.  (The same thing happens in Revelation; John sees an overwhelming vision of Christ, swoons, and then Christ revives and encourages him by touching him.)  However, it may be that Gabriel took this awesome appearance at first to emphasize the weight of what he was about to say, and then took the appearance of a man afterward, no longer needing such splendor to impress upon Daniel the significance of his words.

v. 13: The prince of Persia must be an angel.  How else could he have the power to fight successfully with Gabriel for twenty-one days? According to Gabriel, he could not have overcome this prince of Persia without the angel Michael’s help[1], and yet Gabriel could turn Daniel to jelly simply by appearing to him, so I think it is unreasonable to suppose that this prince of Persia is anything less than a creature of the same order as Gabriel.  Furthermore, since the prince is opposing the work of God, he must be evil.  I wonder if all nations and groups of people have such patron/guardian angels over them.[2] And if the patron angel of a group is evil, what does that say about the collective spirit of the group he presides over?

[1] Michael, like this prince of Persia, is also called a prince in 12:1.

[2] See note on Revelation 1:4.


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