בִּשְׁנַת שָׁלֹושׁ לְכֹורֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ פָּרַס דָּבָר נִגְלָה לְדָנִיֵּאל אֲשֶׁר־נִקְרָא שְׁמֹו בֵּלְטְשַׁאצַּר וֶאֱמֶת הַדָּבָר 10:1
וְצָבָא גָדֹול וּבִין אֶת־הַדָּבָר וּבִינָה לֹו בַּמַּרְאֶה׃
Dani. 10:1 In the third year for Cyrus, king of Persia, a word was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar, and the truth of the word, and the warfare, was so great that he could discern the word, and understanding was his with the vision.
The time frame for this chapter is probably the early 550’s BCE. Cyrus is believed to have begun his reign some time between 560 and 555 BCE. It was he who later allowed Jews to return to Jerusalem. For the reader who is following a linear order through this book, I would like to make a suggestion. Chapter 12 seems to be a continuation of this chapter and Chapter 11, which contains an inscrutible prophecy like that in Chapter 9, seems to stand on its own. So you might want to skip to Chapter 11 now, then when you’ve finished that chapter, return to this chapter, after which you can read Chapter 12.
בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם אֲנִי דָנִיֵּאל הָיִיתִי מִתְאַבֵּל שְׁלֹשָׁה שָׁבֻעִים יָמִים׃ 10:2
Dani. 10:2 In those days I, Daniel, had been mourning three weeks time.
Since we know that Daniel prospered under Cyrus (Dani. 6:29), we may presume that he had been mourning over the loss of Jerusalem and the predicament of his people.
לֶחֶם חֲמֻדֹות לֹא אָכַלְתִּי וּבָשָׂר וָיַיִן לֹא־בָא אֶל־פִּי וְסֹוךְ לֹא־סָכְתִּי עַד־מְלֹאת שְׁלֹשֶׁת שָׁבֻעִים יָמִים׃ 10:3
Dani. 10:3 I did not eat greatly desired bread, and flesh or wine did not come to my mouth, and I did not anoint myself at all until the fulfillment of the three weeks time.
וּבְיֹום עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה לַחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשֹׁון וַאֲנִי הָיִיתִי עַל יַד הַנָּהָר הַגָּדֹול הוּא חִדָּקֶל׃ 10:4
Dani. 10:4 Then it was on the first month's twenty-fourth day, and I was by the side of the great river -- it was the Tigris.
The first month was the month of Nisan, in which Passover begins on the 15th of the month. We can assume from this verse, therefore, that Passover was not observed by the Jews in Babylon. There is no way to tell from the subsequent narrative whether this story was of a vision or of a waking experience in which Daniel saw what he calls a vision. Some scholars have suggested that this was the first month of Cyrus’ third year, not that of the Jewish year. But I find it difficult to imagine that Daniel would suddenly begin marking time from the beginning of a Persian king’s reign.
וָאֶשָּׂא אֶת־עֵינַי וָאֵרֶא וְהִנֵּה אִישׁ־אֶחָד לָבוּשׁ בַּדִּים וּמָתְנָיו חֲגֻרִים בְּכֶתֶם אוּפָז׃ 10:5
Dani. 10:5 And I lifted my eyes and looked and behold, a certain man was wearing white linens and his loins were girded in the fine gold of Uphaz.
וּגְוִיָּתֹו כְתַרְשִׁישׁ וּפָנָיו כְּמַרְאֵה בָרָק וְעֵינָיו כְּלַפִּידֵי אֵשׁ וּזְרֹעֹתָיו וּמַרְגְּלֹתָיו כְּעֵין נְחֹשֶׁת קָלָל וְקֹול 10:6
דְּבָרָיו כְּקֹול הָמֹון׃
Dani. 10:6 And his body was like a gleaming gem, and his face was like the appearance of lightning, and his eyes were like torches of fire, and his arms and his feet were as the color of burnished brass, and the sound of his words was like the sound of a crowd.
וְרָאִיתִי אֲנִי דָנִיֵּאל לְבַדִּי אֶת־הַמַּרְאָה וְהָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ עִמִּי לֹא רָאוּ אֶת־הַמַּרְאָה אֲבָל חֲרָדָהו 10:7
גְדֹלָה נָפְלָה עֲלֵיהֶם וַיִּבְרְחוּ בְּהֵחָבֵא׃
Dani. 10:7 And only I, Daniel, could see the vision, as the men who were with me did not see the vision. However, a great fear fell on them and they fled into hiding.
וַאֲנִי נִשְׁאַרְתִּי לְבַדִּי וָאֶרְאֶה אֶת־הַמַּרְאָה הַגְּדֹלָה הַזֹּאת וְלֹא נִשְׁאַר־בִּי כֹּח וְהֹודִי נֶהְפַּךְ עָלַי 10:8
לְמַשְׁחִית וְלֹא עָצַרְתִּי כֹּחַ׃
Dani. 10:8 So I was left by myself as I saw this great vision, but no strength remained in me, as my vigor was turned against me to corruption and I retained no strength.
וָאֶשְׁמַע אֶת־קֹול דְּבָרָיו וּכְשָׁמְעִי אֶת־קֹול דְּבָרָיו וַאֲנִי הָיִיתִי נִרְדָּם עַל־פָּנַי וּפָנַי אָרְצָה׃ 10:9
Dani. 10:9 But I heard the sound of his words. And at my hearing the sound of his words, then I became unconscious upon my face and my face was to the ground.
וְהִנֵּה־יָד נָגְעָה בִּי וַתְּנִיעֵנִי עַל־בִּרְכַּי וְכַפֹּות יָדָי׃ 10:10
Dani. 10:10 Then behold, a hand extended to me, and it made me totter on my knees and the palms of my hands.
וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי דָּנִיֵּאל אִישׁ־חֲמֻדֹות הָבֵן בַּדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי דֹבֵר אֵלֶיךָ וַעֲמֹד עַל־עָמְדֶךָ כִּי עַתָּה 10:11
שֻׁלַּחְתִּי אֵלֶיךָ וּבְדַבְּרֹו עִמִּי אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה עָמַדְתִּי מַרְעִיד׃
Dani. 10:11 Then he said to me, “Daniel, beloved man, have insight in the words that I am speaking to you and stand on your place, for I have been sent to you now.” And at his speaking this word with me, I stood trembling.
וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי אַל־תִּירָא דָנִיֵּאל כִּי מִן־הַיֹּום הָרִאשֹׁון אֲשֶׁר נָתַתָּ אֶת־לִבְּךָ לְהָבִין וּלְהִתְעַנֹּות לִפְנֵי 10:12
אֱלֹהֶיךָ נִשְׁמְעוּ דְבָרֶיךָ וַאֲנִי־בָאתִי בִּדְבָרֶיךָ׃
Dani. 10:12 Then he said to me, “You must not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you dedicated your heart to understanding and to humbling yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I came according to your words,
וְשַׂר מַלְכוּת פָּרַס עֹמֵד לְנֶגְדִּי עֶשְׂרִים וְאֶחָד יֹום וְהִנֵּה מִיכָאֵל אַחַד הַשָּׂרִים הָרִאשֹׁנִים בָּא לְעָזְרֵנִי 10:13
וַאֲנִי נֹותַרְתִּי שָׁם אֵצֶל מַלְכֵי פָרָס׃
Dani. 10:13 but a prince of the kingdom of Persia was standing in front of me twenty-one days, when behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me as I had been left there in the company of the kings of Persia.”
Now this verse raises some intriguing questions and begs some startling suggestions. This “man” who had come to Daniel was clearly an angel, a messenger (another meaning of the Hebrew word for angel). What does it mean that he was held up for 21 days before a prince of Persia? I must assume that that prince was also an angel. And we hear for the first time of Michael, the archangel. This verse smacks of the Christian belief in spiritual warfare. This is probably where the belief and mention of it in the Christian bible originated. Two angels contended with each other, a stalemate or draw being the result; that is, until Michael arrived. He is likely a higher angel. So kingdoms (or peoples) have their own personal guardian angel. Finally, one more question: Could the 21 days be tied to the three weeks of Daniel’s mourning? Intriguing possibility!
וּבָאתִי לַהֲבִינְךָ אֵת אֲשֶׁר־יִקְרָה לְעַמְּךָ בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים כִּי־עֹוד חָזֹון לַיָּמִים׃ 10:14
Dani. 10:14 “Yet I had to come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the end of days when there is still a vision for the days.”
The last four Hebrew words of this verse, translated by me as “when there is still a vision for the days,” is translated in some Jewish bibles as “for there is yet a vision for the days.” Either translation is valid, but the latter one implies something that should be obvious to anyone who has read the bible thoroughly, and therefore adds no new information. For this reason I prefer my translation, although its meaning is quite esoteric.
וּבְדַבְּרֹו עִמִּי כַּדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה נָתַתִּי פָנַי אַרְצָה וְנֶאֱלָמְתִּי׃ 10:15
Dani. 10:15 And upon his speaking with me according to these words I put my face to the ground so I would be silent.
וְהִנֵּה כִּדְמוּת בְּנֵי אָדָם נֹגֵעַ עַל־שְׂפָתָי וָאֶפְתַּח־פִּי וָאֲדַבְּרָה וָאֹמְרָה אֶל־הָעֹמֵד לְנֶגְדִּי אֲדֹנִי בַּמַּרְאָה 10:16
נֶהֶפְכוּ צִירַי עָלַי וְלֹא עָצַרְתִּי כֹּחַ׃
Dani. 10:16 But behold, one with the likeness of the sons of humanity was reaching at my lips and I opened my mouth and I spoke and said to who was standing before me, “My lord, because of the vision my pains have returned upon me so I retain no strength.”
וְהֵיךְ יוּכַל עֶבֶד אֲדֹנִי זֶה לְדַבֵּר עִם־אֲדֹנִי זֶה וַאֲנִי מֵעַתָּה לֹא־יַעֲמָד־בִּי כֹחַ וּנְשָׁמָה לֹא נִשְׁאֲרָה־בִי׃ 10:17
Dani. 10:17 “Then how could this servant of my lord be able to speak with this lord as I do, whereas no strength can continue in me, then no breath is left in me?”
וַיֹּסֶף וַיִּגַּע־בִּי כְּמַרְאֵה אָדָם וַיְחַזְּקֵנִי׃ 10:18
Dani. 10:18 Then the one with the likeness of a man did more and touched me and he strengthened me.
וַיֹּאמֶר אַל־תִּירָא אִישׁ־חֲמֻדֹות שָׁלֹום לָךְ חֲזַק וַחֲזָק וּכְדַבְּרֹו עִמִּי הִתְחַזַּקְתִּי וָאֹמְרָה יְדַבֵּר אֲדֹנִי כִּי 10:19
Dani. 10:19 And he said, “You must not fear, beloved man. Peace be yours; be strong and stay strong!” And after his speaking with me, I was strengthened, so I said, “Let my lord speak, since you have strengthened me.”
וַיֹּאמֶר הֲיָדַעְתָּ לָמָּה־בָּאתִי אֵלֶיךָ וְעַתָּה אָשׁוּב לְהִלָּחֵם עִם־שַׂר פָּרָס וַאֲנִי יֹוצֵא וְהִנֵּה שַׂר־יָוָן בָּא׃ 10:20
Dani. 10:20 And he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Then now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia, so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is coming.”
So Persia has its guardian angel and Greece has its own. The strong implication here is that all peoples have their own guardian angel. And these angels may contend with each other at times.
אֲבָל אַגִּיד לְךָ אֶת־הָרָשׁוּם בִּכְתָב אֱמֶת וְאֵין אֶחָד מִתְחַזֵּק עִמִּי עַל־אֵלֶּה כִּי אִם־מִיכָאֵל שַׂרְכֶם׃ 10:21
Dani. 10:21 “However, I will declare to you the inscription in the writing of truth: That no one is strong with me against these except Michael, your prince.”
And Israel has its own, Michael, the archangel. Notice that the Hebrew word for you near the beginning of the verse is singular, but the word for your in the phrase your prince, is plural, and therefore has to refer to more than just Daniel, that is, to all of Israel.
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