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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

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Commentary on The Book of Daniel

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Commentary spanning earlier chapters

7.1–12.13 : Final manifestations.

These form the second half of the book. Two separate themes—the four beasts and the heavenly visions—become united.

2 :

The Great Sea: the ocean was viewed as the chaos dragon, slain by the deity; see e.g. Isa. 27.1 and Ps. 89.9–10 n.

4–7 :

Compare the four creatures in Ezek. 1.5–10 . According to v. 17 , the beasts probably represent kingdoms; see 2.37–40 .

8 :

A little horn: the ten horns would represent a round number of successors of Alexander the Great in the Near East; see v. 24 . The little horn would be the contemporaneous persecutor of the Jews, Antiochus IV Epiphanes (see Introduction). See also 1 Macc. 1.41–50 .

9–10 :

A vision of heaven.

9 :

Ancient in Years: God. On the scene depicted here, see 1 Kgs. 22.19 and Ezek. 1.26–28 .

10 :

The courtthe books: the picture of a courtroom scene is found in other writings, such as Enoch 47.3 .

11–12 :

A continuation of v. 8 .

13–14 :

A continuation of vv. 9–10 .

13 :

Human being: lit. “son of humankind,” traditionally translated “son of man.” The term does not carry here all the levels of meaning it later acquired, such as “messiah.”

14 :

The prerogatives are to be effective forever for the one like a human being (v. 13 ), as anticipated in 2.44 .

15 :

A continuation of v. 12 .

18 :

The holy ones: the people persecuted by Antiochus Epiphanes; see v. 27 . In v. 14 such power was given to “the one like a human being.”

21 :

The Ancient in Years: God would deliver the holy ones; compare the deliverance of the young men in chs. 3 and 6 .

25 :

A time and times and half a time: three and a half years. Time means year; times, two years; see 4.16 .

10.1–12.13 : A detailed vision of the reigns of Alexander and his successors and of the end.

1 :

Third year of Cyrus: 536 B.C.E.

4 :

Compare Ezek. 1.1 .

5–6 :

The passage uses some of the same terms as Ezek. 1.15–28 . The man is probably the angel Gabriel.

7 :

Compare Acts 9.7 for a vision seen by one person but not by his companions.

13 :

Michael, the guardian angel of Israel, came to the aid of Gabriel (vv. 5–6 n. ) when the latter was battling the guardian angel of the kingdom of Persia.

20 :

The battle of the angels reflects the battles of the people; Greece here is probably the kingdom of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, though it may be the empire of Alexander.

10.21–11.2 :

The Book of Truth revealed. This was apparently an explanation of history and its fulfillment, and not the same as the book of 12.1 .

11.2 :

Since there were more than four kings in Persian history, it is not known which ones the author meant.

12.1–13 : Concluding vision.

1 :

Apocalyptic literature seems to flow directly from historical events (here the wars brought on by Antiochus) to events of the end times. As in 9.26–27 , the period before the very end would be the most distressful. The book: compare Ps. 69.28; see 10.21–11.2 n.

2 :

This is a clear statement of resurrection, and unique in the OT.

4 :

The book here seems to be that of 11.1 , rather than 12.1 .

6 :

Linen: see Ezek. 9.2 .

7 :

Time, times, and a half: three and a half years, as it is in 7.25 .

11–12 :

These figures, perhaps representing separate traditions, seem to be related to those of 7.25 and 8.14 .

11 :

See 9.27 n.

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