In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Daniel 10:2-3. I Daniel was mourning — The reason of Daniel’s fasting and mourning might be, either because many of the Jews, through slothfulness and indifference, still remained in the land of their captivity, though they had liberty to return to their own land, not knowing how to value the privileges offered them; or, as Usher thinks, because he had heard that the adversaries of the Jews had begun to obstruct the building of the temple. Calmet, however, is of opinion, that his sorrow arose principally from the obscurity which the prophet found in the prophecies revealed to him; which, indeed, may be partly collected from the angel’s touching upon no other cause of mourning. In consequence of Daniel’s fasting, &c., the angel appears, and explains to him, in a clearer manner, what had been more obscurely revealed in the preceding visions. Three full weeks — Hebrew, three weeks of days. So we read of a month of days, Genesis 29:4; Numbers 11:20, where the English reads, a whole month. But the phrase may be used here to distinguish them from the weeks of years prophesied of in chap. 9. I ate no pleasant bread — “There seems to have been two sorts of fasting among the Jews; either a total abstinence from food of all sorts for at least a whole day, which David observed at the funeral of Abner, 2 Samuel 3:35; or a partial abstinence from the better kinds of food, which lasted for a considerable time, as in the case before us. The prophet made likewise an alteration in his dress, and did not anoint himself as usual after the eastern manner, 2 Samuel 12:20; Matthew 6:17; for the Jews never anointed themselves in times of mourning and humiliation.”
Three full weeks - Margin, "weeks of days." Hebrew, "Three sevens of days." He does not say whether he had designedly set apart that time to be occupied as a season of fasting, or whether he had, under the influence of deep feeling, continued his fast from day to day until it reached that period. Either supposition will accord with the circumstances of the case, and either would have justified such an act at anytime, for it would be undoubtedly proper to designate a time of extraordinary devotion, or, under the influence of deep feeling, of domestic trouble, of national affliction, to continue such religious exercises from day to day.
1. Because the Jews had liberty to go out of captivity, yet many of them staid still in Babylon.
2. Because when they were building the temple, walls, and city they were greatly hindered and molested, Ezra 4:4.
3. Because he foresaw the many calamities of the Jews that would befall them for their sins, especially in destroying the Messiah, and rejecting his gospel.
Three full weeks; he fasted and mourned all that time, both to declare his deep sense of those calamities ensuing, and to be in a better posture to receive Divine impressions, which usually God reveals to humble souls.
three full weeks; or, "three weeks of days" (c); so called, to distinguish them from weeks of years, mentioned in the preceding chapter.In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2. was mourning] or, continued mourning. The motive of Daniel’s mourning is not stated; but it may be inferred from Daniel 10:12 (cf. Daniel 9:3) to have been grief for his people’s sin (cf. Ezra 10:6), and anxiety about its future (cf. Nehemiah 1:4).
three full weeks] three weeks long. Lit. three weeks, days—a pleonastic idiom, which occurs elsewhere (e.g. Genesis 41:1; Deuteronomy 21:13; 2 Samuel 13:23). ‘Full’ emphasizes the expression unduly.
 See Ges.-Kautzsch, § 131 d.Verse 2. - In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. The versions are close to the Massoretic, only the Septuagint, and, following it, the Vetus, as quoted by Tertullian, omit "days," in the literal rendering of the Hebrew phrase, "weeks of days". Mourning. Zockler and Fuller think this mourning due to the difficulties the released captives had in carrying out their desire of rebuilding the temple. It may have been that he was grieved that so few of the people were willing to avail themselves of the privilege. We are here assuming that the chronology of this passage reckons from the overthrow of Nabunahid, that is, from Cyrus's accession to the throne of Babylon; but, as we have seen, this "third year" may be reckoned from his assumption of the title King of Persia, San Parsua, in which case it may be the same year with that vision narrated in the previous chapter. Three full weeks; literally, three weeks of days - to mark off the duration of Daniel's fast from the weeks of years referred to in the ninth chapter. Keil objects to this interpretation, but assigns no reason. At the same time, it is to be observed that "year of days" means a full year, but a week is such a short period that the necessity of saying that it was complete by defining it a "week of days" is not so obvious, and is unexampled. 2 Samuel 11:2. The addition at Babylon does not indicate that the king was then living at a distance from Babylon, as Berth., v. Leng., Maur., and others imagine, but is altogether suitable to the matter, because Nebuchadnezzar certainly had palaces outside of Babylon, but it is made with special reference to the language of the king which follows regarding the greatness of Babylon. ענה means here not simply to begin to speak, but properly to answer, and suggests to us a foregoing colloquy of the king with himself in his own mind. Whether one may conclude from that, in connection with the statement of time, after twelve months, that Nebuchadnezzar, exactly one year after he had received the important dream, was actively engaging himself regarding that dream, must remain undetermined, and can be of no use to a psychological explanation of the occurrence of the dream. The thoughts which Nebuchadnezzar expresses in v. 26 (Daniel 4:29) are not favourable to such a supposition. Had the king remembered that dream and its interpretation, he would scarcely have spoken so proudly of his splendid city which he had built as he does in v. 27 (Daniel 4:30).
When he surveyed the great and magnificent city from the top of his palace, "pride overcame him," so that he dedicated the building of this great city as the house of his kingdom to the might of his power and the honour of his majesty. From the addition רבּתא it does not follow that this predicate was a standing Epitheton ornans of Babylon, as with חמת , Amos 6:2, and other towns of Asia; for although Pausanias and Strabo call Babylon μεγάλη and μεγίστη πόλις, yet it bears this designation as a surname in no ancient author. But in Revelation 14:8 this predicate, quoted from the passage before us, is given to Babylon, and in the mouth of Nebuchadnezzar it quite corresponds to the self-praise of his great might by which he had built Babylon as the residence of a great king. בּנה designates, as בּנה more frequently, not the building or founding of a city, for the founding of Babylon took place in the earliest times after the Flood (Genesis 11), and was dedicated to the god Belus, or the mythic Semiramis, i.e., in the pre-historic time; but בּנה means the building up, the enlargement, the adorning of the city מלכוּ לבּית, for the house of the kingdom, i.e., for a royal residence; cf. The related expression ממלכה בּית, Amos 7:13. בּית stands in this connection neither for town nor for היכל (Daniel 4:29), but has the meaning dwelling-place. The royalty of the Babylonian kingdom has its dwelling-place, its seat, in Babylon, the capital of the kingdom.
With reference to the great buildings of Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon, vide the statements of Berosus in Josephi Ant. x. 11, 1, and con. Ap. i. 19, and of Abydenus in Eusebii praepar. evang. ix. 41, and Chron. i. p. 59; also the delineation of these buildings in Duncker's Gesch. des Alterth. i. p. 854ff. The presumption of this language appears in the words, "by the strength of my might, and for the splendour (honour) of my majesty." Thus Nebuchadnezzar describes himself as the creator of his kingdom and of its glory, while the building up of his capital as a residence bearing witness to his glory and his might pointed at the same time to the duration of his dynasty. This proud utterance is immediately followed by his humiliation by the omnipotent God. A voice fell from heaven. נפל as in Isaiah 9:7, of the sudden coming of a divine revelation. אמרין for the passive, as Daniel 3:4. The perf. עדּת denotes the matter as finished. At the moment when Nebuchadnezzar heard in his soul the voice from heaven, the prophecy begins to be fulfilled, the king becomes deranged, and is deprived of his royalty.
The fulfilling of the dream.
Nebuchadnezzar narrates the fulfilment of the dream altogether objectively, so that he speaks of himself in the third person. Berth., Hitz., and others find here that the author falls out of the role of the king into the narrative tone, and thus betrays the fact that some other than the king framed the edict. But this conclusion is opposed by the fact that Nebuchadnezzar from v. 31 speaks of his recovery again in the first person. Thus it is beyond doubt that the change of person has its reason in the matter itself. Certainly it could not be in this that Nebuchadnezzar thought it unbecoming to speak in his own person of his madness; for if he had had so tender a regard for his own person, he would not have published the whole occurrence in a manifesto addressed to his subjects. But the reason of his speaking of his madness in the third person, as if some other one were narrating it, lies simply in this, that in that condition he was not Ich equals Ego (Kliefoth). With the return of the Ich, I, on the recovery from his madness, Nebuchadnezzar begins again to narrate in the first person (v. 31 34).
Here the contents of the prophecy, v. 22 (v. 25), are repeated, and then in v. 30 (v. 33) it is stated that the word regarding Nebuchadnezzar immediately began to be fulfilled. On שׁעתא בהּ, cf. Daniel 3:6. ספת, from סוּף, to go to an end. The prophecy goes to an end when it is realized, is fulfilled. The fulfilling is related in the words of the prophecy. Nebuchadnezzar is driven from among men, viz., by his madness, in which he fled from intercourse with men, and lived under the open air of heaven as a beast among the beasts, eating grass like the cattle; and his person was so neglected, that his hair became like the eagles' fathers and his nails like birds' claws. כּנשׁרין and כּצפּרין are abbreviated comparisons; vide under Daniel 4:16. That this condition was a peculiar appearance of the madness is expressly mentioned in v. 31 (Daniel 4:34), where the recovery is designated as the restoration of his understanding.
This malady, in which men regard themselves as beasts and imitate their manner of life, is called insania zoanthropica, or, in the case of those who think themselves wolves, lycanthropia. The condition is described in a manner true to nature. Even "as to the eating of grass," as G. Rsch, in the Deutsch. Morgenl. Zeitschr. xv. p. 521, remarks, "there is nothing to perplex or that needs to be explained. It is a circumstance that has occurred in recent times, as e.g., in the case of a woman in the Wrttemberg asylum for the insane." Historical documents regarding this form of madness have been collected by Trusen in his Sitten, Gebr. u. Krank. der alten Hebrer, p. 205f., 2nd ed., and by Friedreich in Zur Bibel, i. p. 308f.
(Note: Regarding the statement, "his hair grew as the feathers of an eagle," etc., Friedr. remarks, p. 316, that, besides the neglect of the external appearance, there is also to be observed the circumstance that sometimes in psychical maladies the nails assume a peculiarly monstrous luxuriance with deformity. Besides, his remaining for a long time in the open air is to be considered, "for it is an actual experience that the hair, the more it is exposed to the influences of the rough weather and to the sun's rays, the more does it grow in hardness, and thus becomes like unto the feathers of an eagle.")
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