صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

14

there with 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. And when he 15 had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb. And behold, one like 16 the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips : then I 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

but this verb ; (נותרתי for הותרתיו) reading and I left him there

[ocr errors]

means not to leave simply, but to leave over or remaining (viz. from what has been taken elsewhere, Ez. xxxix. 28, or destroyed, Ex. X. 15, xvi. 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 (Neh. viii. 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.'

14. And I am come to make thee understand, &c.] cf. viii. 16, ix. 22 ; also ix. 236.

what shall befall thy people in the end of the days] The sentence seems to be framed on the model of Gen. xlix. 1. On the 'end (a different word from that occurring in viii. 17, 19) of the days, see on ii. 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. viii. 176, 266.

15. In spite of the command not to fear (v. 12), and the encouraging nature of the words which followed (especially v. 12), Daniel does not recover his composure ; and is only gradually reassured in the sequel

: (. 16-19).

I set..., and was dumb] As yet, he stood with his eyes fixed on the ground, dreading to look up and speechless.

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 (i. 5, 10, 13, 16, 22, 26, 28, viii. 2, X. 1, 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-Is. vi. 7 (* made it—the hot coaltouch my lips '), Jer. i. 9 ('made it—his hand-touch my mouth').

opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that

stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows 17 are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength. For

how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my

lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength 18 in me, neither is there breath left in me. Then there

came again and touched me one like the appearance of 19 a man, and he strengthened me, and said, O man greatly

beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea,

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 vv. 6.

my lord] 1 Sam. i. 15, 26, xxii. 12, &c.; Zech. i. 9, iv. 4, 5, 13,

5,

vi. 4:

17.

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 (Is. xiii. 8); and the whole phrase occurs in i Sam. iv. 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. Is. xxi. 3, where it is used similarly to describe the prostration produced by an alarming vision. and I retained no strength] v. 8, end.

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 1. The latter rendering is in accordance with the meaning of 'from now else where; the former expresses a thought harmonizing better with the clause which follows. Remain' is lit. stand, i.e. maintain itself: cf. Eccl. ii. 9; and ķum in Josh. ii. II.

neither is there breath, &c.] a hyperbole. Cf. (of actual death) 1 Ki. xvii. 17; also, with 'spirit 'for breath,' of the effects of fear, as here, Josh. ii. 11; and of wonder, 1 Ki. x. 5.

18, 19. A third touch (see vv. 10, 16), followed by a second reassurance (see vv. 11-14) on the part of the dazzling being, restores Daniel's composure entirely.

18. one like the appearance of a man] 'appearance,' as in viii. 15, and often in the visions of Ezek. (i. 13, 14, 26, 27, 28, viii. 2, X. I, xlii. 1).

strengthened me] i.e. both restored my physical strength, and also encouraged' me, as the same word is rendered in Deut. i. 38, iii. 28.

19. And he said] The dazzling being described in vv. 5, 6, who has been speaking in vv. 11 a, 12–14, and whom Daniel had addressed in vv. 16b, 17. Not the angel mentioned in vv. 16 a, 18.

Fear not (v. 12), O man greatly desired] v. II.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

be strong.

And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.

Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto 20 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. But I will shew thee that which is noted in the 21

6

be strong...was strengthened] as in v. 18. Cf. 2 Sam. X. 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)'; Ezr. vii. 28.

20—xi. 1. Before, however, the speaker proceeds to disclose the future to Daniel (xi. 2 ff.), in accordance with the promise of v. 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.

20. Knowest thou, &c.] A rhetorical question, designed to recall to Daniel what had been said in vv. 12, 14, and to indicate to him its importance.

and now will I return, &c.] to carry on and complete the successes begun in v. 13. 'Now' must mean, as soon as possible, as soon as I have given thee this revelation (xi. 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 viii. 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 Ki. xi. 5, 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, Deut. xx. 1, xxi. 10; without it, Jud. ix. 29, 2 Sam. xi. 1, xviii. 2 (end), 3, 6, 2 Ki. ix. 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.

21. Howbeit] 'but’ is not strong enough : cf. v. 7. It is difficult to be sure what the thought tacitly opposed is : it may be, 'Howbeit (though I cannot stay long, v. 20 a), I can nevertheless tell thee this (xi. 2 ff.) about the future'; or • Howbeit (though the contest, v. 206, 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 (ii. 2) unto thee that which is inscribed in the writing

DANIEL

II

scripture of truth : and there is none that holdeth with me 11 in these things, but Michael your prince. Also I in the first

year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.

[ocr errors]

6

of truth] i.e. the book in which God has inscribed beforehand, as truly as they will be fulfilled, the destinies of mankind: cf. Ps. cxxxix. 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. (v. 24, 25, vi. 8, 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 Is. xxx. 8 for ppni, .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 (v. 20), only Michael supports me. The words seem to connect with the end of v. 20, rather than with the first part of v. 21, which is perhaps to be regarded as parenthetical.

strengtheneth himself with me) i.e. shews himself to be my valiant ally: cf. 1 Ch. xi. 10, 2 Ch. xvi. 9 (where in the behalf of' is lit. with, as here), xvii. 1.

xi. 1. And as for me, in...I stood up to be a supporter and a stronghold unto him] I myself, also, in the first year of Darius, came forward to support Michael. As soon as 'Darius the Mede' (v. 31, ix. 1) ‘received the kingdom,' there was need for the defenders of Israel to co-operate on its behalf; and (it seems to be implied) it was through this angelic intervention that the natural hostility of Persia to Israel was turned to friendliness.

I stood up] The Heb. is peculiar, lit. my standing (was). One or two parallels can be quoted (as Jud. xix. 9; Job ix. 27); but the addition of a letter would give the normal Hebrew for I stood

a supporter) prop. one holding strongly or firmly: see Is. xli. 9, 13; Ez. XXX. 25

stronghold) vv. 7, 10, 19, 31, 38, 39; Is. xxiii. 4, II: here in a figurative sense, as often of Jehovah (e.g. Ps. xxvii. 1, xxviii. 1).

(2) xi. 2-xii. 4. The revelation given to Daniel.

This consists of a survey of the history from the beginning of the Persian period down to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, followed by a description of the Messianic age, to begin afterwards. The description is brief and general in its earlier part, more detailed in the later parts. The angel first refers briefly to the doings of four Persian kings (v. 2), and of Alexander the Great (v. 3), with the division of his empire after his death (v. 4); then narrates more fully the leagues and conflicts between the kings of Antioch ('the kings of the north'), and of Egypt ('the kings of the south '), in the centuries following (vv. 5—20); and finally,

.(עמדי for עמדתי)

And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall 2 stand up yet three kings in Persia ; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all : and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.

[ocr errors]

most fully of all, describes the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes (vv. 21-45), including his conflicts with Egypt, and the persecution of the Jews (vv. 30 6-39). The death of Antiochus is followed by a resurrection (of Israelites), and the advent of the Messianic age (xii. 1-3). The revelation is intended to shew that the course of history is in God's hands, and that though it may bring with it a period of trial for His people, this will be followed, at the appointed time, by its deliverance. It is thus designed particularly for the encouragement of those living in the season of trial, i.e. under the persecution of Antiochus; it is accordingly to be sealed up' by Daniel until then (xii. 4).

As is usual in apocalyptic literature (Enoch, Baruch, 2 Esdras, &c.), no names are mentioned; the characters and events referred to being described in veiled language, which sometimes leaves the interpretation úncertain. The Commentary of Jerome is important in this chapter, on account of its preserving notices from writers no longer extant.

2. And now will I declare truth unto thee ) something which will be verified by the event (cf. x. 21).

The four kings of Persia.
stand up] i.e. arise, as viii. 23, and below, vv. 3, 4, 7, 20, 21.

three kings] the three kings following Cyrus (x. 1) are Cambyses (B.C. 529–522), Gaumâta (Pseudo-Smerdis) 522 (for 7 months), and Darius Hystaspis (522—485). Gaumâta, however, might easily be disregarded by the writer : in this case, the third king would be Xerxes (485-465).

in Persia] to, belonging to, Persia: the construction, as Deut. xxiii. 2, 3 [3, 4]; Jer. xiii. 13 (see R.V. marg.); and frequently.

the fourth] the fourth, following the 'three'? or the fourth, including Cyrus (who is reigning at the time, X. I), i.e. the last of the three The latter interpretation is the more probable one : otherwise, why was not four kings shall stand up' said ? In either case, the fourth king is Xerxes, Gaumâta being counted in the former case but not in the latter. On Xerxes' wealth and strength, see Hdt. vii. 20—99 (the account of the immense armament prepared by him against Greece).

and when he is waxed strong] The same expression in the Heb.) as 2 Ch. xii. 1, xxvi. 16.

he shall stir up all (in conflict) with, &c.] he will set in motion (v. 25; Is. xiii. 17; Jer. 1. 9) all the men and forces of his vast empire. The allusion is to the well-known expedition against Greece, to which Xerxes devoted all his treasures and all his energies, and which ended in the disastrous defeat at Salamis, B.C. 480. The description of Greece as a 'realm' or kingdom, is, of course, inexact : Greece, in the age of Xerxes, consisted of a number of independent states, democracies or oligarchies; a Greek 'kingdom' did not arise till the days of Philip and Alexander of Macedon.

6

« السابقةمتابعة »