Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Michael, “who is like God,” alludes to the name of the Machabees; Who is like unto thee among the gods? The archangel protected the Jews, while Epiphanes was engaged beyond the Euphrates. — Time. The nation was in the utmost distress. Only about seven thousand ill-armed men adhered to Judas: yet these delivered the country by God’s decree. — Book. God seemed to keep a register of his friends. (Calmet) — Michael, the guardian of the Church, will protect her against antichrist, as her pastors will do visibly. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Many. This shews the great number. All shall rise again. In a figurative sense, the Jews who seemed buried shall appear and fight. — To see. Hebrew, “everlasting.” (Calmet) — St. Jerome has not seen a d (Haydock) in the word. This text is express for eternal happiness or misery. (Calmet) — Some have understood, deraon, “stench,” or contempt, to denote the ignominy of the damned; but the prophet speaks of the times of the Machabees. (Houbigant.) — All shall rise in their bodies, but all shall not be changed for the better, 1 Corinthians xv. 51. (Worthington)
Ver. 3. Learned in the law of God and true wisdom, which consists in knowing and loving God. (Challoner) — Hebrew, “instructors.” — Instruct. Hebrew, “justify,” in the same sense. The Machabees and other priests, &c. who instructed people in the law, and stood up for its defence, may be meant. (Calmet) — “There is as much difference between a learned sanctity and a holy rusticity, as there is between heaven and the stars.” (St. Jerome) — Teachers, martyrs, and virgins are entitled to an aureola, or accidental reward, besides the essential beatitude. (Worthington) — Many. Th.[Theodotion?] and the Vulgate read, “and of the just many shall be like for an age and after.” (St. Jerome)
Ver. 4. Shut. The vision will not be understood till the event. (Calmet) — It is not to be interpreted by human wit, but by the spirit of God, wherewith the Church is enlightened and governed. (St. Jerome in Gal.) (Worthington)
Ver. 5. Two angels of Persia and Greece, near the Tigris. (Maldonatus)
Ver. 6. I. Hebrew, “He.” Theod.[Theodotion?], Syriac and Arabic, “they said” to Gabriel, chap. x. 5. Angels ask questions of each other, chap. viii. 13. — Wonders. How long shall this be in the dark, and the misery continue?
Ver. 7. Heaven. He thus shews that he is not God. (Calmet) — Time often implies a year, chap. iv. 13. Hence he means three years and a half. Christ assures us that those days shall be shortened, (Matthew xxiv. 22.) and the persecutor shall tarry a short time, Apocalypse xvii. 10., and xii. 14. The same period is insinuated by 1290 days, (ver. 11) and 1330, ver. 12. The two witnesses prophesy 1260 days, during which the Church shall be fed in the wilderness, Apocalypse xii. 6. But the term is most exactly specified by forty-two months, Apocalypse xi. 2., and xiii. 5. Hence all the Fathers agree that the last persecution shall continue no longer. (Worthington) — How absurdly do some Protestants explain this of years during which, they say, the papacy shall subsist! Whence will they date its origin? But they will readily trifle with the word of God, and admit any one to indulge his fancy, as long as he does not strike at the thirty-nine articles. If he do, he may expect the treatment of poor Stone, (Haydock) whose death in the King’s Bench, aged 75, has been just announced. He pleaded that one article decided, “nothing was to be maintained which could not be proved by Scripture.” Yet he was deprived of his living by Dr. Porteus, who at one time was as eager to procure a change in the articles, yet was not prevented by his scruples from mounting the episcopal throne of Chester or of London. Stone had not this discretion. (Rock. N. 306.) He fell a victim to contradictory articles. He might be in error. But what right had Proteus to throw the first stone at him? or how will Protestants shew that any man is reprehensible for adopting the principles of the Reformation, which was entirely built on private interpretation? They applaud Luther, who established Scripture self-interpreted for the only rule, and they condemn Stone, Wesley, &c. for acting accordingly. If they have such just weights and measures for their own, what wonder then if the rights of Catholics be disregarded? (Haydock) — Half a time. The idol of Jupiter remained just three years. Yet the temple was not ready for sacrifices till other ten days had elapsed. They had been interrupted six months before that idol was set up. (Calmet) — We must date from the profanation and distress caused by Apollonius, 1 Machabees iv. 52. (Jos. [Josephus?]; S. Hypol. [St. Hippolytus?]; Usher, the year of the world 3836.; Calmet) — Band. Literally, “hand.” (Haydock) — When the people shall be destitute of strength, God will miraculously deliver them.
Ver. 8. Understand not. The prophets were obliged to pray, and sometimes to receive a fresh revelation to explain what they had seen, chap. ix. 2.; 1 Peter i. 11.; and 1 Corinthians xiv. 26. What regarded Antiochus and the Church was almost inexplicable before the event, as the times of antichrist are to us, ver. 9.
Ver. 10. White, by persecution endured with patience, chap. xi. 35. — Learned. While the weak Jews will be scandalized at this treatment, the virtuous will reflect that suffering is a trial of God’s servants, and a mark of predestination.
Ver. 11. Days: thirteen more than three and a half, as we reckon. The odd number might be neglected, ver. 7. The abomination continued three years and ten days, but the sacrifices had been discontinued six months and three days before. See Chap. viii. 14. If Daniel speak of lunar years, as it is probable, the difference would only be two days. (Calmet) — From the abolishing of the mass as much as possible, and the practice of heresy and abomination, unto the end of antichrist’s persecution, 1290 days shall elapse. (Worthington)
Ver. 12. Days. After the three years and a half, fifty-eight days will occur before the death of Antiochus, when Judas will disperse the troops of his three generals. (Calmet) — Some respite will be granted for forty-five days, during which sinners may repent. (Menochius) — It is difficult to say why forty-five days are here added to the former number. We are content to depart with Daniel, (ver. 9.) without searching any farther into these high mysteries. (Worthington)
Ver. 13. Lot. Thou shalt enjoy a glorious resurrection, (Menochius) and thy dignities till death, for which thou must prepare. (Calmet) — Days. “Hitherto,” says St. Jerome, “we read Daniel, in the Hebrew volume; what follows, to the end, is translated from Theodotion’s edition.” (Haydock) — The history of Susanna is there placed at the beginning. (Calmet) — According to the order of time, it should be placed after the first chapter. (Menochius)
Bible Text & Cross-references:Michael shall stand up for the people of God: with other things relating to antichrist, and the end of the world.
1 But *at that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people: and a time shall come, such as never was from the time that nations began, even until that time. And at that time shall thy people be saved, every one that shall be found written in the book.
2 And many of those that sleep in the dust of the earth, shall awake: *some unto life everlasting, and others unto reproach, to see it always.
3 But they that are learned, *shall shine as the brightness of the firmament: and they that instruct many to justice, as stars for all eternity.
4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time appointed: many shall pass over, and knowledge shall be manifold.
5 And I, Daniel, looked, and behold as it were two others stood: one on this side upon the bank of the river, and another on that side, on the other bank of the river.
6 And I said to the man that was clothed In linen, that stood upon the waters of the river: How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?
7 And I heard the man that was clothed in linen, that stood upon the waters of the river, *when he had lifted up his right hand, and his left hand to heaven, and had sworn by him that liveth for ever, that it should be unto a time, and times, and half a time. And when the scattering of the band of the holy people shall be accomplished, all these things shall be finished.
8 And I heard, and understood not. And I said: O my lord, what shall be after these things?
9 And he said: Go, Daniel, because the words are shut up, and sealed until the appointed time.
10 Many shall be chosen, and made white, and shall be tried as fire: and the wicked shall deal wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand, but the learned shall understand.
11 And from the time when the continual sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination unto desolation shall be set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred ninety days.
12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh unto a thousand three hundred thirty-five days.
13 But go thou thy ways until the time appointed: and thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot unto the end of the days.
1: Apocalypse xii. 7.
2: Matthew xxv. 46.; John v. 29.
3: Wisdom iii. 7.
7: Apocalypse x. 5