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It would seem a natural inference from this allusion also, that the first day in question is to be understood of the first of the one and twenty days' fasting and mourning; and, consequently, when the Angel proceeds to observe, "But the Prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days;" it seems equally reasonable to conclude that, but for the opposition of the Prince of the kingdom of Persia, the Angel, who came for the words of Daniel at the end of his three weeks' fast, would have come for the same reason at the beginning of it; and therefore that the one and twenty days, between the first hearing of the words of Daniel, and the actual coming of the Angel, and the one and twenty days' opposition of the Prince of the kingdom of Persia, denote the same interval of time in each instance.
In answer to this objection, which after all is more specious than true, it may be replied, first, that if it was the case, as the Angel declared to Daniel, that from the first day that "he set his heart to understand and to chasten himself before his God, his words had been heard; and he was come for his words;" the most natural and obvious construction of this declaration would be to refer it to Daniel ix. 1, and the following verses; especially as Daniel is there represented to be doing, before the appearance of the Angel on that occasion, the very thing which is here implied by setting his heart to understand, and chastening himself before his God: see ver. 2, 3, 4-19: and his being so employed is also represented as the moving cause why the Angel was sent to him, to reveal the subject-matter of the prophecy there recorded; and the last of these things so critically the effect of the former, that the command to the Angel to go forth was issued at the very beginning of the supplications of Daniel which led to it see ver. 20-23.
On this principle, the first day alluded to x. 13, as the day from which the words of Daniel had been heard, would have no more right to be referred to the third of Cyrus, x. 1, 2, than to the first of Darius, ix. 1, 2 in which case the one and twenty days' opposition of the Prince of the kingdom of Persia, if that was the reason why they had not been answered sooner, could have nothing to do with Daniel's three weeks' fast; for between the first of Darius and the third of Cyrus, the interval far exceeded the duration of this three weeks' fast.
In the next place, an opposition of one and twenty days, if literally understood of a three weeks' duration only, would seem to be much too insignificant a circumstance to be specially mentioned and insisted upon, in an account of an interview between Daniel and the angel Gabriel, so remarkable as this, and ushered in by a vision of so glorious a character as the manifestation of the second Person in the Trinity to the eyes of the prophet Daniel, under the same form and with the same attributes of dignity and majesty, externally, in which he afterwards appeared to St. John in the Apocalypse, (i. 13-16): for that the person who appears, and is described as appearing to Daniel, at x. 5, 6, is our Lord Jesus Christ, or God Incarnate, the second Person of the Holy Trinity in an human but glorified form; there can be no question: especially, when this one and twenty days' opposition, so understood, is assigned as the reason why the words of Daniel should not have been sooner heard; in other words, why a vision of so sublime a nature should not have been sooner vouchsafed to him: especially too, when the nature of the parties concerned in the opposition on both sides is considered-the Prince of the kingdom of Persia, if not likewise the Prince of the kingdom of
Grecia, on the one hand, and the angel Gabriel, and Michael, one of the chief, or one of the first Princes, and the Prince of Daniel and of his people in particular, on the other: for that these are designations of real beings, and of beings superior to human, on the one side, and therefore in all probability on the other too, can scarcely admit of a doubt. Now between opposing parties of this mysterious but exalted description-the angelic being, Gabriel, and the super-angelic being, Michael, one of the first or chief Princes, that is, one of the three Persons of the undivided Trinity itself, on the one side, and the corresponding antagonist principles of powers and potentates like these, the Prince of Persia and the Prince of Grecia, on the other; an opposition and a contest of three weeks' duration, and directed to no other purpose, than whether the answer to the words of Daniel should take place three weeks of days sooner, or three weeks of days later; (with submission and reverence be it spoken ;) does appear incongruous to the spirit of the whole description, disproportionate to the greatness and solemnity of the occasion, and disparaging to the dignity of the parties concerned in it on both sides.
In the third place, no one, perhaps, would have imagined the fact of a reference at x. 13, 14, to the fasting and mourning alluded to x. 2, 3, but for the turn which the English version has given to the original, in rendering the latter part of verse 12: “And I am come for thy words," and in introducing the next verse by the adversative particle, "But." One could scarce help concluding from the first of these versions, that the Angel was just come in consequence of Daniel's words; and from the other, that he would have come sooner, but for the opposition of the Prince of Persia. The original, however, does not necessarily sanction
either of these conclusions. The latter part of verse 12 might just as well have been rendered, " And I came for thy words," as, "I am come for thy words;" and the particle which is rendered by "But" in verse 13, might still more correctly have been rendered by "And," which is its proper meaning as it stands in the text.
The truth is, as it appears to me, the whole of this tenth chapter of Daniel, or that part of it which contains the account of the words of the Angel, more particularly, labours under an ambiguity in the English version, which does not exist in the original; partly because the position of some things in it, which are parenthetically interposed, and should have been distinguished accordingly, has not been attended to; and partly because the language of history or simple narrative has not been preserved throughout it, as I conceive it should have been, in an historical or recapitulatory summary like this, which refers exclusively to the past, without any allusion to what was present or passing, or had been so recently, at the time. In my own opinion, if this tenth chapter is to be rightly understood, it is to be taken in connexion with the eighth; it being remembered only, that though connected with it in point of reference, or community of subject throughout, it is yet considerably separated from it in point of time; the eighth chapter belonging to the third of Belshazzar, and the tenth to the third of Cyrus.
In support of this opinion, it is necessary to observe that the Book of Daniel admits of being divided into two halves or sections, the historical and the prophetical; the former of which requires to be distinguished from the latter. The former is comprehended between chapter i. and chapter vi. inclusive of both; the latter between chapter vii. and the end of the book.
former begins with the third of Jehoiakim, or the first of Nebuchadnezzar, reckoned from the time of his association in the empire with his father; that is, from what is equivalent to both, B. C. 606: and ends with the first of Cyrus, as next in succession to Darius, B. C. 536; comprehending a period of seventy years, or the duration of the Jewish captivity from first to last. See Daniel i. 1. 5. 21: ii. 1: v. 31. The prophetical part begins at vii. 1, in the first of Belshazzar, B. C. 561, and ends at x. 1, in the third of Cyrus, B. C. 534; between which extremes, respectively, the interval is twenty-seven years.
For that the first of the visions of Daniel, in other words, the first portion of the prophetical matter, contained in this book, without any mixture of historical, properly so called, bears date from the first of Belshazzar, appears from vii. 1: and that the second does so in the third of Belshazzar, appears from viii. 1: and these dates, if we are right in the conclusions which we have endeavoured to establish-first that Belshazzar was the same with Evil-merodach, the son of Nebuchadnezzar; and secondly, with regard to the end and beginning of his reign respectively—are the same with B.C. 561, on the one hand, and B. C. 559, on the other. But after this second vision, there is no mention of any third one, like either of the former, before x. 1, bearing date in the third of Cyrus; which if literally understood of the third of Cyrus' sole reign, after the death of Darius, would answer to B. C. 534. We have, it is true, the account of a prophecy interposed in chapter the ninth, the date of which was the first of Darius, B. C. 538: the celebrated prophecy of the seventy weeks. But the account of this prophecy is not the account of a vision, like either of those which preceded, in chapter vii. and viii. respectively; or like