|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:15-27 The eternal Son of God stood before the prophet in the appearance of a man, and directed the angel Gabriel to explain the vision. Daniel's fainting and astonishment at the prospect of evils he saw coming on his people and the church, confirm the opinion that long-continued calamities were foretold. The vision being ended, a charge was given to Daniel to keep it private for the present. He kept it to himself, and went on to do the duty of his place. As long as we live in this world we must have something to do in it; and even those whom God has most honoured, must not think themselves above their business. Nor must the pleasure of communion with God take us from the duties of our callings, but we must in them abide with God. All who are intrusted with public business must discharge their trust uprightly; and, amidst all doubts and discouragements, they may, if true believers, look forward to a happy issue. Thus should we endeavour to compose our minds for attending to the duties to which each is appointed, in the church and in the world.
Verse 26. - And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days. The rendering of the LXX. here is, "The vision of the evening and morning was found true, and the vision has been secured for many days." אֲשַׁר נֶאֶמֲר (asher ne'emar) has been read נמצא על, although it is difficult to see the genesis of such a reading from the Massoretic , or vice versa. The LXX. rendering of סתם ought to be observed - not "shut up," in the sense of being "sealed," but "defended from interference by being secured as with a hedge." Theodotion and the Peshitta agree with the Massoretic text, but have חתם, construct of סתם. The vision of the evening and the morning refers to ver. 14. The phrase used. here differs by the insertion of the definite article: but this merely intimates a reference. This statement does not mean that the period indicated by the two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings would end with the death of Antiochus. Certainly, his death occurred in the year following the cleansing of the temple (1 Macc. 6:16). If the writer reckons the beginning of the year according to the Macedonian Calendar, almost a year must have elapsed between the temple-cleansing and the death of Antiochus; but it is the cleansing that is the terminus ad quem, not the death of Antiochus. The pollution of the temple was the event that, of all others, would be trying to the faith and patience of Jewish believers; therefore attention is directed to this. As the beginning of this season of trial is the point to which the whole history of the Greek Empire travels, so the termination of this desecration is the end contemplated. Shut thou up the vision. Certainly the verb satham means sometimes "to hide;" and it is also certain that it is a characteristic of apocalyptic literature to contain, in the text, elaborate directions fur hiding the vision; e.g. the Apocalypse of Moses. It has been argued that this is a preparation for the publication of Daniel in the age of the Maccabees, so long after the date at which it purports to be written. But there is no description of how the book is to be hidden, as in the Assumption of Moses. Moreover, the translators of the LXX. did not understand satham as "hide." If it had been hidden, and had been discovered, he would have known and translated accordingly. Then when we turn to the next verse, we find that Daniel himself did not understand the command as meaning that he was to keep the vision secret from his contemporaries; so far from that being the case, one at' his reasons for distress is that no one understood the vision. The vision shall be far many days. That is to say, that a long interval divided the time when the revelation was made from the time of its fulfilment (Ezekiel 12:27); the vision he sees is for many days to come. Before the beginning of the history revealed to Daniel, certainly not many years intervened; but between the days of Belshazzar and those of Antiochus was an interval of approximately four centuries. The Persian Empire rose and fell, and the Macedonian Empire rose and was approaching its fall. At the end of the period, the light of the vision fell most clearly. It was not necessary that Daniel should know the events portrayed to foretell them truly, any more than it was needful that the Second Isaiah should know the exact historical events portrayed so clearly in his fifty-third chapter. Daniel could not fail to know of Persia, and it even did not require more than a knowledge of the past, and ordinary powers of political forecast, to see that Cyrus might, and probably would, found a world-empire. He knew of the Greeks: there were Greeks in the army of Nebuchadnezzar. Moreover, we learn from Herodotus (1:77) that Nabu-nahid Labynetus had made an alliance with Croesus, in order to check the advance of Cyrus. We know from Herodotus (1:26, 27) that Croesus subdued all the Greek cities in Asia Minor. To Daniel, who possibly had favoured this alliance with the Western monarch, the King of Javan would mean, not Alexander the Great, as it means to us, but Croesus. But his hopes that Babylon will be delivered by the help of Croesus are shown to be groundless, by the intimation that it will be "for many days." The intimation that he had made to Belshazzar, of the interpretation of the inscription on the palace wall, did not necessarily, in his mind, militate against the hope that repentance might lead to respite. Daniel may have made use of political expedients to help in the result he wished.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true,.... That is, of the 2300 evenings and mornings, or natural days; unto which time the daily sacrifice was to cease, and the sanctuary and host trodden under foot; and then the sanctuary would be cleansed. This account is "true", and not only to be believed, but is clear and plain, and to be literally understood of so many days, of such a term of time exactly, having no obscurity in it:
wherefore shut thou up the vision; the whole vision of the ram and he goat, and the little horn: the meaning is, that he should keep it to himself, and conceal it from men; not from his own people, for whose sake it was given, but from the Chaldeans, whose destruction was near; and who would be succeeded by the Persians, who might be disgusted with this prophecy, should they see it, it foretelling the destruction of their empire: or this order was given to suggest to Daniel that the fulfilment of it would be deferred some time, during which it would not be so easy to be understood as when it was near accomplishing and accomplished; and then prophecy and facts might be compared together:
for it shall be for many days; it were three hundred years, or more, from the reign of Belshazzar to the death of Antiochus, in which this vision ends.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
26. shut … up … vision—implying the vision was not to be understood for the present. In Re 22:10 it is said, "Seal not the vision, for the time is at hand." What in Daniel's time was hidden was more fully explained in Revelation, and as the time draws nearer, it will be clearer still.
it shall be for many days—It refers to remote times (Eze 12:27).
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