Daniel 10 – “The Downfall of the Persian Empire”

135975706_76d49779d2Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Daniel is perplexed by a vision, and he fasts for three weeks in order to understand it. He sees an awe-inspiring angel who informs him about future events as follows: The angel Michael will destroy the Persian kingdom, and the Greek kingdom will rise in its place.

II. Photo
Daniel describes the angel in v. 6: “… his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches…”

III. Important Verses
vv. 2-3: At that time, I, Daniel, kept three full weeks of mourning. I ate no tasty food, nor did any meat or wine enter my mouth. I did not anoint myself until the three weeks were over.
vv. 4-6:  It was on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, when I was on the bank of the great river — the Tigris — that I looked and saw a man dressed in linen, his loins girt in fine gold. His body was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and legs had the color of burnished bronze, and the sound of his speech was like the noise of a multitude.
v. 14: So I have come to make you understand what is to befall your people in the days to come, for there is yet a vision for those days.
vv. 20-21: Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Now I must go back to fight the prince of Persia. When I go off, the prince of Greece will come in. No one is helping me against them except your prince, Michael. However, I will tell you what is recorded in the book of truth.

IV. Outline
1. Introduction
2-3. Daniel prepares for the vision
4-6. The angel described
7-21. Daniel’s experience with the angels

V. Comment
Chapter 10 begins the final prophecy of the book. A man who turns out to be an angel is described in vv. 4-6: “It was on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, when I was on the bank of the great river — the Tigris — that I looked and saw a man dressed in linen, his loins girt in fine gold. His body was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and legs had the color of burnished bronze, and the sound of his speech was like the noise of a multitude.” This description is surprisingly similar to that of Ezek. 8:2: “As I looked, there was a figure that had the appearance of fire: from what appeared as his loins down, he was fire; and from his loins up, his appearance was resplendent and had the color of amber.”

Collins summarizes the angel’s message as follows: “He explains to Daniel the real nature of conflicts on earth. He is engaged in combat with the ‘Prince of Persia,’ and after that the ‘Prince of Greece’ will come. Nobody helps him except ‘Michael your prince.’ Michael, prince of Israel, is the archangel. The princes of Persia and Greece are presumably the patron angels of those peoples In earlier times they would be called simply the gods of those peoples (cf. the speech of the Assyrian Rabshakeh in Isaiah 36). The implication is that conflicts on earth are decided not just by human actions but by the actions of the gods or patron angels.” (568-569)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)

Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Minneaolis: Fortress Press, 2004).

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