Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Third. This concurs with the first of Darius. Cyrus then reigned in Persia, and the king is here often mentioned, as the vision happened near it, on the banks of the Tigris. Only twenty-one days had elapsed since the former. — Strength. Hebrew, “warfare,” or determinate time, Job vii. 1. This shall surely take place, but not soon. (Calmet) — For. Protestants, “and had understanding,” &c. (Haydock) — He was informed of the meaning, or strove to know what the preceding vision denoted. (Calmet) — Pharao and Baltassar were not prophets, as they did not comprehend what they saw. For understanding is requisite, in order that a vision may be prophetical. (St. Thomas Aquinas, ii. 2. q. 175 a. 2; Worthington)
Ver. 2. Weeks. Marsham says twenty-one years. But it means only so many days. He began to mourn on the third of Nisan, and continued fasting (ver. 4.) it seems even on the sabbaths, and on the feast of Passover, till the 24th. (Calmet) — He was grieved that the people did not make use of the leave granted by Cyrus; (Theod.) or because the Samaritans had prevailed at court to have the temple forbidden; (Usher, year of the world 3470; 1 Esdras i. 14.) or rather because he could not fully understand the former visions, chap. ix. 30., and xii. 9. &c. (Calmet)
Ver. 5. Linen. Hebrew baddim. — Finest. Hebrew uphaz, (Haydock) from Phasis or Ophir.
Ver. 6. Chrysolite. Hebrew, “Tharsis.” This precious stone was perhaps greenish.
Ver. 10. Hand; the Holy Ghost, or rather the angel Gabriel.
Ver. 11. Desires most amiable. (Calmet) — This new title is given to comfort the prophet. (Worthington)
Ver. 13. The prince, &c. That is, the angel guardian of Persia: who, according to his office, seeking the spiritual good of the Persians, was desirous that many of the Jews should remain among them. (Challoner) — St. Jerome, &c. explain it of the angel guardian. (Worthington) — Each country has an archangel over it, as individuals have an angel. Others assert that this was an evil angel; for how could a good one oppose so long the will of God? Yet this argument may be retorted, as evil spirits themselves must comply. It seems, therefore, that Cyrus was exhorted by the good angels to invade the Chaldeans, and thus to liberate God’s people. He was afraid of the hazardous attempt, and free-will may resist the inspirations of God. — One, or “prince.” (Calmet) — Michael, and the guardian of Daniel, joined their prayers for the liberation of the Jews, ver. 20. (Worthington)
Ver. 14. Days. It will not soon take place; or, I have many things to tell.
Ver. 20. To thee? He awakens his attention (ver. 14.; Calmet) and gratitude. (Haydock) — Prince, angel guardian; or Alexander, who would one day rout the Persians, chap. xi. 2. (Calmet)
Ver. 21. Of truth, in the former sealed visions. (Calmet) — Your prince. The guardian general of the Church of God, (Challoner) as he was of the synagogue. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:Daniel having humbled himself, by fasting and penance, seeth a vision, with which he is much terrified: but he is comforted by an angel.
1 In *the third year of Cyrus, king of the Persians, a word was revealed to Daniel, surnamed Baltassar, and a true word, and great strength: and he understood the word: for there is need of understanding in a vision.
2 In those days I, Daniel, mourned the days of three weeks.
3 I ate no desirable bread, and neither flesh, nor wine, entered into my mouth, neither was I anointed with ointment: till the days of three weeks were accomplished.
4 And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, I was by the great river, which is the Tigris.
5 And I lifted up my eyes, and I saw: and behold a man clothed in linen, and his loins were girded with the finest gold:
6 And his body was like the chrysolite, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as a burning lamp: and his arms, and all downward even to the feet, like in appearance to glittering brass: and the voice of his word like the voice of a multitude.
7 And I, Daniel alone, saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw it not: but an exceeding great terror fell upon them, and they fled away, and hid themselves.
8 And I, being left alone, saw this great vision: and there remained no strength in me, and the appearance of my countenance was changed in me, and I fainted away, and retained no strength.
9 And I heard the voice of his words: and when I heard I lay in a consternation upon my face, and my face was close to the ground.
10 And behold a hand touched me, and lifted me up upon my knees, and upon the joints of my hands.
11 And he said to me: Daniel, thou man of desires, understand the words that I speak to thee, and stand upright: for I am sent now to thee. And when he had said this word to me, I stood trembling.
12 And he said to me: Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thy heart to understand, to afflict thyself in the sight of thy God, thy words have been heard: and I am come for thy words.
13 But the prince of the kingdom of the Persians resisted me one and twenty days: and behold Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, and I remained there by the king of the Persians.
14 But I am come to teach thee what things shall befall thy people in the latter days, for as yet the vision is for days.
15 And when he was speaking such words to me, I cast down my countenance to the ground, and held my peace.
16 And behold as it were the likeness of a son of man touched my lips: then I opened my mouth and spoke, and said to him that stood before me: O my lord, at the sight of thee my joints are loosed, and no strength hath remained in me.
17 And how can the servant of my lord speak with my lord? for no strength remaineth in me; moreover, my breath is stopped.
18 Therefore, he that looked like a man, touched me again, and strengthened me.
19 And he said: Fear not, O man of desires, peace be to thee: take courage, and be strong. And when he spoke to me, I grew strong, and I said: Speak, O my lord, for thou hast strengthened me.
20 And he said: Dost thou know wherefore I am come to thee? And now I will return, to fight against the prince of the Persians. When I went forth, there appeared the prince of the Greeks coming.
21 But I will tell thee what is set down in the scripture of truth: and none is my helper in all these things, but *Michael, your prince.
1: Year of the World 3478, Year before Christ 536.
21: Apocalypse xii. 7.