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Daniel 10

An Angel Appears to Daniel

10:1 1 In the third 2  year of King Cyrus of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel (who was also called Belteshazzar). This message was true and concerned a great war. 3  He understood the message and gained insight by the vision.

10:2 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three whole weeks. 4  10:3 I ate no choice food; no meat or wine came to my lips, 5  nor did I anoint myself with oil 6  until the end of those three weeks.

10:4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month 7  I was beside the great river, the Tigris. 8  10:5 I looked up 9  and saw a 10  man 11  clothed in linen; 12  around his waist was a belt made of gold from Upaz. 13  10:6 His body resembled yellow jasper, 14  and his face had an appearance like lightning. His eyes were like blazing torches; 15  his arms and feet had the gleam of polished bronze. His voice 16  thundered forth like the sound of a large crowd.

10:7 Only I, Daniel, saw the vision; the men who were with me did not see it. 17  On the contrary, they were overcome with fright 18  and ran away to hide. 10:8 I alone was left to see this great vision. My strength drained from 19  me, and my vigor disappeared; 20  I was without energy. 21  10:9 I listened to his voice, 22  and as I did so 23  I fell into a trance-like sleep with my face to the ground. 10:10 Then 24  a hand touched me and set me on my hands and knees. 25  10:11 He said to me, “Daniel, you are of great value. 26  Understand the words that I am about to 27  speak to you. So stand up, 28  for I have now been sent to you.” When he said this 29  to me, I stood up shaking. 10:12 Then he said to me, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel, for from the very first day you applied your mind 30  to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. I have come in response to your words. 10:13 However, the prince of the kingdom of Persia was opposing me for twenty-one days. But 31  Michael, one of the leading princes, came to help me, because I was left there 32  with the kings of Persia. 10:14 Now I have come to help you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to future days.”

10:15 While he was saying this to me, 33  I was flat on 34  the ground and unable to speak. 10:16 Then 35  one who appeared to be a human being 36  was touching my lips. I opened my mouth and started to speak, saying to the one who was standing before me, “Sir, 37  due to the vision, anxiety has gripped me and I have no strength. 10:17 How, sir, am I able to speak with you? 38  My strength is gone, 39  and I am breathless.” 10:18 Then the one who appeared to be a human being touched me again 40  and strengthened me. 10:19 He said to me, “Don’t be afraid, you who are valued. 41  Peace be to you! Be strong! Be really strong!” When he spoke to me, I was strengthened. I said, “Sir, you may speak now, 42  for you have given me strength.” 10:20 He said, “Do you know why I have come to you? 43  Now I am about to return to engage in battle with the prince of Persia. When I go, the prince of Greece is coming. 10:21 However, I will first tell you what is written in a dependable book. 44  (There is no one who strengthens me against these princes, 45  except Michael your 46  prince.

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1 sn This chapter begins the final unit in the book of Daniel, consisting of chapters 10-12. The traditional chapter divisions to some extent obscure the relationship of these chapters.

2 tc The LXX has “first.”

sn Cyrus’ third year would have been ca. 536 B.C. Daniel would have been approximately eighty-four years old at this time.

3 tn The meaning of the Hebrew word צָבָא (tsava’) is uncertain in this context. The word most often refers to an army or warfare. It may also mean “hard service,” and many commentators take that to be the sense here (i.e., “the service was great”). The present translation assumes the reference to be to the spiritual conflicts described, for example, in 10:1611:1.

4 tn Heb “three weeks of days.” The inclusion of “days” here and in v. 3 is perhaps intended to call attention to the fact that these weeks are very different in nature from those of chap. 9, which are “weeks of years.”

5 tn Heb “mouth.”

6 sn Anointing oneself with oil (usually olive oil) was a common OT practice due to the severity of the Middle Eastern sun (cf. Ps 121:6). It was also associated with rejoicing (e.g., Prov 27:9) and was therefore usually not practiced during a period of mourning.

7 sn The first month would be the month of Nisan, during which Passover was observed.

8 tn The Hebrew text has חִדָּקֶל (hiddaqel). “Tigris” appears here in the LXX, since it is the Greek name for this river. Elsewhere in the OT “the great river” refers to the Euphrates (e.g., Gen 15:18; Josh 1:4), leading some interpreters to think that a mistake is involved in using the expression to refer to the Tigris. But it is doubtful that the expression had such a fixed and limited usage. The Syriac, however, does render the word here by “Euphrates” (Syr. perat) in keeping with biblical usage elsewhere.

9 tn Heb “I lifted up my eyes.”

10 tn Heb “one.” The Hebrew numerical adjective is used here like an English indefinite article.

11 sn The identity of the messenger is not specifically disclosed. Presumably he is an unnamed angel. Some interpreters identify him as Gabriel, but there is no adequate reason for doing so.

12 tn The Hebrew word בַּדִּים (baddim) is a plural of extension. See GKC 396-97 §124.a, b, c and Joüon 2:500 §136.c.

13 tn The location of this place and even the exact form of the Hebrew name אוּפָז (’ufaz) are uncertain. Apparently it was a source for pure gold. (See Jer 10:9.) The Hebrew word פָז (paz, “refined gold” or “pure gold”) is more common in the OT than אוּפָז, and some scholars emend the text of Dan 10:5 to read this word. Cf. also “Ophir” (1 Kgs 9:28; Isa 13:12; Job 22:24; 28:16).

14 tn The Hebrew word translated “yellow jasper” is תַּרשִׁישׁ (tarshish); it appears to be a semiprecious stone, but its exact identity is somewhat uncertain. It may be the yellow jasper, although this is conjectural. Cf. NAB, NIV “chrysolite”; NASB, NRSV “beryl.”

15 tn Heb “torches of fire.”

16 tn Heb “The sound of his words” (cf. v. 9).

17 tn Heb “the vision.”

18 tn Heb “great trembling fell on them.”

19 tn Heb “did not remain in.”

20 tn Heb “was changed upon me for ruin.”

21 tn Heb “strength.”

22 tc Heb “I heard the sound of his words.” These words are absent in the LXX and the Syriac.

23 tn Heb “as I listened to the sound of his words.”

24 tn Heb “Behold.”

25 tc Theodotion lacks “and the palms of my hands.”

tn Heb “on my knees and the palms of my hands.”

26 tn Or “a treasured person”; KJV “a man greatly beloved”; NASB “man of high esteem.”

27 tn The Hebrew participle is often used, as here, to refer to the imminent future.

28 tn Heb “stand upon your standing.”

29 tn Heb “spoke this word.”

30 tn Heb “gave your heart.”

31 tn Heb “and behold.”

32 tc The Greek version of Theodotion reads “I left him [i.e., Michael] there,” and this is followed by a number of English translations (cf. NAB, NRSV, NLT).

33 tn Heb “speaking to me according to these words.”

34 tn Heb “I placed my face toward.”

35 tn Heb “Behold.”

36 tc So most Hebrew MSS; one Hebrew MS along with the Dead Sea Scrolls and LXX read “something that looked like a man’s hand.”

37 tn Heb “my lord,” here a title of polite address. Cf. v. 19.

38 tn Heb “How is the servant of this my lord able to speak with this my lord?”

39 tn Heb “does not stand.”

40 tn Heb “He added and touched me.” The construction is a verbal hendiadys.

41 tn Heb “treasured man.”

42 tn Heb “my lord may speak.”

43 sn The question is rhetorical, intended to encourage reflection on Daniel’s part.

44 tn Heb “a book of truth.” Several English versions treat this as a title of some sort (cf. NIV, NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT), although the NAB’s rendering “the truthful book” regards “truth” as an attributive adjective, as does the present translation.

45 tn The word “princes” is supplied for clarity.

46 tn The pronoun is plural in Hebrew, suggesting that Michael is the angelic prince of Daniel and his people.

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