Daniel 10 Bible Commentary

John Darby’s Synopsis

(Read all of Daniel 10)
The following commentary covers Chapters 10 and 11.

Further revelations to Daniel as to the future of his people and the Gentiles

In chapter 10 we return to the East [1]. Chapters 10, 11 and 12 form but one prophecy; only chapter 11 closes the history of the Gentiles, and chapter 12, as we remarked at the beginning, is occupied with the condition of the remnant during the last period of the Gentile power, and with their deliverance (concluding thus the revelation of God's mind with respect to the remnant who are preserved in the midst of the Gentiles).

Daniel, ever intent on the welfare of his people, made supplication (v. 2, 3, 12) to God, with a renewed and a persevering desire to understand His dealings. After three weeks of fasting and prayer an angel is sent to him, revealing the opposition of the enemies of God's glory to the accomplishment of His purposes of favour to His people, and to the communication of these purposes for their encouragement. But if faith is exercised, God is faithful; and the perseverance of Daniel puts him morally in a condition to appreciate the communications of God, being a proof of his fitness to receive them. The angel informs him that the vision has reference to the Jews, and that it belongs to the latter days (chap. 10: 14). The strength which is given him enables him to receive the communication. The kings of Persia, under whose reign he received the vision, are enumerated; and the attack on Greece by one amongst them is announced. This gives rise to an attack on Persia by Greece; and the Greek empire is established; but it is afterwards divided into four parts. Two of these four monarchies shall be more powerful than the others. They are also territorially in relation with the Jews. It is on the territory of the latter that their wars are carried on. The history of the kings of these two monarchies, thus in conflict on the territory of Israel, is given with considerable detail under the names of king of the north and king of the south. I do not enter into these details.

The history a type of what shall heppen in the last days

The history is carried on until the intervention of the Romans, the ships from the coast of Chittim [2], and the attack upon the Jews, and the temple, and the holy covenant. The king of the north allies himself with the apostate Jews; he pollutes the sanctuary, and sets up an idol; he takes away the daily sacrifice; he leads the wicked into apostasy (this is the force of the expression in verse 32). But they who know God shall be strong, and shall act with energy. They who understand, being taught of God, shall instruct the many. Thus far is the succession of the first kings, and the history of the Maccabees, and of Antiochus Epiphanes.

The result, on to the end, is then given in general terms—the last part of the preceding history being a type of what shall happen in the last days. The people again fall for a time under the hands of their enemies. They shall be helped a little: some shall cleave to them with flatteries. A few even of those who understand, who might have been expected to be preserved providentially by God, will also fall by violence, to try the faith of all, and purge them, until the time of the end. For this state of things is to continue until the period appointed by God. It is the condition of the Jews, especially in those days, that is, of the Seleucidae and Lagida, kings of north and south, and in general, until the last days.

The use and meaning of "many" and "the Maschilim"

Some observations on the details may here be of use to the reader. In chapters 9: 27, 11: 33, 12: 3, the word translated "many" has the article in Hebrew, and signifies the mass of the people, which makes the force of these verses much more simple. The reader will also remark, in contrast with the masses (chap. 11: 33), "the Maschilim," a word found in the titles of many of the Psalms. They that understand, they that are taught of God, shall instruct the many: there will be the activity of love for the truth in these times of trial. In chapter 12: 3, we have again those that understand associated with those that instruct the many in righteousness. Compare chap. 11: 33. They become victims, in verse 35, to violence. This last verse reaches, as we have seen, to the end of this people's history, while under the dominion of the Gentiles. But more positive details are given with respect to the end.

The king [3] is introduced—the wicked one who will exercise power in Judea at the end of the age; and will prosper until the indignation comes to an end—a period of which we have already spoken. It is a king who acts in the land of Judea; one of an impious character, and who follows his own unbridled will, exalting himself above all, forsaking the religion of his fathers, regarding neither Christ nor any God, blaspheming the God of heaven, and establishing idolatry; but in a way of his own; "he shall cause them to rule over the many, and shall divide the land for a reward." It is rather difficult to say who these are that he will cause to rule—I apprehend his followers; but the general character of this self-willed, impious, and idolatrous king who magnifies himself above all, is sufficiently plain. We find, as the chapter goes on, that the king of the south pushes at him, and the king of the north comes against him like a whirlwind, overflows and passes over and enters into the land of delight, Judea. But Edom, Moab, and Ammon escape his power, being reserved (Isaiah 11: 14) to be subdued by Israel itself. But he stretches out his hand over the countries and pillages them. Egypt does not escape, and they who dwell in Africa are at his feet. But, disturbed by tidings from the east and north, he sets up his tabernacles between Jerusalem [4] and the sea, and comes to his end, with none to help him. The end of the king is not given here. It is the end of the king of the north, the subject here being the nations and the land of Israel, and that which shall happen to the people of Daniel in the last days. In the land there will be the wicked and impious king, who shall be attacked by the king of the south. The king of the north then pillages all the countries round, with the exception of three, and he perishes in the land of Israel.

[1] It may be remarked that in both cases the revelation given to Daniel, as to his people, is in reply to his exercises of heart in intercession or fasting; the revelations in chapters 7, 8 as to the western or eastern destroying powers are not. They are given when God pleases. These were in the time of Belshazzar; the two former, after Babylon was taken The Jews were then really in a new position till Christ was rejected, and then the great forsaking came, when time does not count till they are in their own land, and God begins to deal with them again. Then, after the display of their unbelief in receiving the power of evil and in idolatry the last grand tribulation comes, and then judgment in the Person of the Lord from heaven.

[2] The intervention of these in favour of the young king of Egypt, whom Antiochus Epiphanes had conquered, led to his going back and raging against the Jews, profaning the temple, and forbidding Jewish worship.

[3] *Compare Isaiah 30: 33 (reading "for the king also") and 57: 9. He has the tide of "the king" in the eyes of the Jews—a title which of right belongs only to Jesus, the true Messiah and King of Israel.

[4] This is the regular meaning of the Hebrew.