Daniel 12:6
And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was on the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?
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(6) And one said.—The speaker is evidently one of the persons just mentioned, but the LXX. and St. Jerome suppose Daniel to address the man clothed in white linen, who is obviously the same person who has already spoken (Daniel 10:5, &c.). The position which he occupies is striking. He appears “upon” or (see margin) from above, i.e., hovering over the waters of the Tigris. If, as is frequently the case in the symbolical language of Scripture (see Isaiah 8:6-7, Psalm 93:4), waters or streams are the emblems of nationalities, the Hiddekel will represent the Persian Empire, in the third year of which Daniel had this vision, and the position of the person implies his power to protect his people from all the assaults of the Persians. But at the same time, the remarkable word used for “river” recalls the Nile, and seems to be employed for the purpose of assuring the readers of the book that “He who smote the waters of the Nile” will restrain all earthly powers which war against His people.

How long . . . end.—The end is that which has been frequently spoken of (Daniel 11:40 to Daniel 12:3). The question asks, “How long will the end of these wonders continue? The end always appears to be at hand, yet it never comes. How long will this continue?”

12:5-13 One of the angels asking how long it should be to the end of these wonders, a solemn reply is made, that it would be for a time, times, and a half, the period mentioned ch. 7:25, and in the Revelation. It signifies 1260 prophetic days or years, beginning from the time when the power of the holy people should be scattered. The imposture of Mohammed, and the papal usurpation, began about the same time; and these were a twofold attack upon the church of God. But all will end well at last. All opposing rule, principality, and power, shall be put down, and holiness and love will triumph, and be in honour, to eternity. The end, this end, shall come. What an amazing prophecy is this, of so many varied events, and extending through so many successive ages, even to the general resurrection! Daniel must comfort himself with the pleasing prospect of his own happiness in death, in judgment, and to eternity. It is good for us all to think much of going away from this world. That must be our way; but it is our comfort that we shall not go till God calls us to another world, and till he has done with us in this world; till he says, Go thou thy way, thou hast done thy work, therefore now, go thy way, and leave it to others to take thy place. It was a comfort to Daniel, and is a comfort to all the saints, that whatever their lot is in the days of their lives, they shall have a happy lot in the end of the days. And it ought to be the great care and concern of every one of us to secure this. Then we may well be content with our present lot, and welcome the will of God. Believers are happy at all times; they rest in God by faith now, and a rest is reserved for them in heaven at last.And one said - One of these angels. It would seem that, though before unseen by Daniel, they had been present, and had listened with deep interest to the communication respecting the future which the angel had made to him. Feeling a deep concern in the issue of these wonderful events - thus evincing the interest which we are taught to believe the heavenly beings take in human affairs (see the notes at 1 Peter 1:12) - one of them now addressed him who had been endowed with so much ability to disclose the future, as to the termination of these events. Such an inquiry was natural, and accords with what we should suppose an angel would make on an occasion like this.

To the man clothed in linen - The angel. See the notes at Daniel 10:5.

Which was upon the waters of the river - Margin, from above. So the Hebrew. The meaning is, the man seemed to stand over the river. Compare Daniel 8:16. Lengerke supposes that by this was intimated the fact that the Divine control was over the waters as well as over the land - in other words, over the whole earth.

How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? - Nothing had been said on this point that could determine it. The angel had detailed a succession of remarkable events which must, from the nature of the case, extend far into future years; he had repeatedly spoken of an end, and had declared that that series of events would terminate, and had thus given the assurance to Daniel that these troubles would be succeeded by brighter and happier times, but he had said nothing by which it could be determined when this would be. It was natural to start this inquiry, and as well for the sake of Daniel as himself, the angel here puts the question when this would be.

6. one—namely, of the two (Da 12:5).

man … in linen—who had spoken up to this point. God impelled the angel to ask in order to waken us out of our torpor, seeing that the very "angels desire to look into" the things affecting man's redemption (1Pe 1:12), as setting forth the glory of their Lord and ours (Eph 3:10).

How long … to the end of these wonders—This question of the angel refers to the final dealings of God in general, Antichrist's overthrow, and the resurrection. Daniel's question (Da 12:8) refers to the more immediate future of his nation [Auberlen].

To the man clothed in linen; to Michael, Daniel 10:5; Christ, who seemed to stand between the banks, i.e. in the air above the waters, or upon them, Matthew 14:25; upon many people, say some, Revelation 10:2.

How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? the angels themselves inquire into these things, for they do not know all, yea, they are ignorant of many things, Matthew 24:36 Ephesians 3:10. And one said to the man clothed with linen,.... One of the angels on one side of the bank of the river spoke to Christ, who appeared in a human form, as a presage of his future incarnation; and as clothed in linen, expressive of his priestly office, and of his purity and holiness, which qualified him for it; See Gill on Daniel 10:6. Which of the angels it was that spake is not said, or on which side of the river he stood; very probably each of them spake in their turn, and joined: in the same request to Christ:

which was upon the waters of the river: or above (m) them; denoting his power and dominion over men, kingdoms, and nations, sometimes signified by waters, and even over those the most tumultuous and raging:

how long shall it be to the end of these wonders, these wonderful things before predicted, concerning the state and condition of the people of God, their troubles and afflictions, the fall and ruin of antichrist, and the glorious things that shall follow upon that: angels, as they are inquisitive creatures, and pry into the mysteries of grace, so into those of Providence; especially such as concern the church of God, for whom they have a great regard; of the secrets of which they have no knowledge until revealed unto them; though this question seems to be put not so much for their own sakes as for the sake of Daniel, who was present, but had not that courage and presence of mind as they had; nor could use that freedom with Christ as they did, at least at first, till encouraged by their example.

(m) "super aquas", Pagninus; "desuper aquas", Montanus; "supra aquas", Calvin, Cocceius, Michaelis.

And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?
6. And one] i.e. one of the angels just mentioned, whom Daniel hears speaking (cf. Daniel 8:13).

the man clothed in linen] The glorious figure described more fully in Daniel 10:5-6.

upon] above, i.e. hovering in the air, above the stream; cf. Daniel 8:16.

the wonders] or extraordinary things, viz. the extraordinary trials and sufferings described in Daniel 11:31-36 (cf. the same expression, with regard to the deeds, or words, of Antiochus, in Daniel 8:24 and Daniel 11:36).Verse 6. - And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? The Septuagint renderingis, "And I said" - reading אמר instead of יאמר - "to one clothed in fair linen (βύσσινα), which is above the water of the river" - the last five words being omitted from the Syriac of Paulus Tellensis - "When, then, shall the end be of these marvels which thou hast told me, and their purification?" The last clause, which does not represent anything in the Massoretic, is due to a confusion between אֶשְׁמַע, with which the next verse begins, and אַשָׁמַם. Theodotion's rendering is, as usual, closer to the Massoretic, "and he said to the man clothed in baddin, who was upon the waters of the river, When shall be the end of those marvels of which thou speakest?" Both the Greek versions insert "of which thou speakest." The rendering of the Peshitta differs slightly, "And they said" - a reading that one would be wishful to adopt if it had any probability in its favour - "to the man clothed in beautiful apparel, who was standing above the waters of the river, Until when shall the end of these things be?" The omission of "wonders" is to be observed. The Vulgate follows the Septuagint in making Daniel the speaker, "And I said to the man clothed in linen, who was standing over the waters of the river, When shall be the end of these marvels?" And one said. Aben Ezra makes this one of the two who spoke. This suggestion is the most natural, only the sentence is singularly abrupt, and favours the idea that there is an omission here. The LXX. and Vulgate, as we have seen, read, "I said." While the reading is an easy one, it is, as Professor Bevan remarks, against the analogy of Daniel 8:13. To the man clothed in linen. This man is mentioned in Daniel 10:5, presumably Gabriel. Which was upon the waters of the river. The reference may be to Daniel 8:16, where a voice comes to him from between the banks of the river Ulai. Here, not upon the waters of the river Tigris, but over them, was the appearance of the angel Gabriel. How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? One difficulty that strikes one is that there are no wonders foretold. That the rulers of Syria should war against the possessors of Egypt was not a marvellous thing. Professor Bevan, who holds that the marvels referred to are the events foretold, quotes Isaiah 29:14 as a parallel instance, but, though marvels are there mentioned, such marvels that all the wisdom of the wise should fail, etc., yet here nothing is told of the nature of these marvels. Had there been visions of symbolic animals, as in the seventh and eighth chapters, we could have understood these things being spoken of as marvels. The probability, then, is heightened that there have been omissions as well as insertions here. The time contemplated is the end, when judgment and resurrection are passed. It is, in fact, the question of the apostles (Matthew 24:3), "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" The third beast, which Daniel saw after the second, was like a panther (leopard), which is neither so kingly as the lion nor so strong as the bear, but is like to both in rapacity, and superior to them in the springing agility with which it catches its prey; so that one may say, with Kliefoth, that in the subordination of the panther to the lion and the bear, the same gradation is repeated as that this is found (of the third kingdom) in Daniel 2 of the copper (brass). Of the panther it is said, that it had four wings of a fowl and four heads. The representation of the beast with four wings increases the agility of its movements to the speed of the flight of a bird, and expresses the thought that the kingdom represented by that beast would extend itself in flight over the earth; not so royally as Nebuchadnezzar, - for the panther has not eagle's wings, but only the wings of a fowl, - but extending to all the regions of the earth, for it has four wings. At the same time the beast has four heads, not two only, as one might have expected with four wings. The number four thus shows that the heads have an independent signification, and do not stand in relation to the four wings, symbolizing the spreading out of the kingdom into the four quarters of the heavens (Bertholdt, Hv., Kran.). As little do the four wings correspond with the four heads in such a way that by both there is represented only the dividing of the kingdom into four other kingdoms (Hv.. Comment., Auberl.). Wings are everywhere an emblem of rapid motion; heads, on the contrary, where the beast signifies a kingdom, are the heads of the kingdom, i.e., the kings or rulers: hence it follows that the four heads of the panther are the four successive Persian kings whom alone Daniel knows (Daniel 11:2). Without regard to the false interpretations of Daniel 11:2 on which this opinion rests, it is to be noticed that the four heads do not rise up one after another, but that they all exist contemporaneously on the body of the beast, and therefore can only represent four contemporary kings, or signify that this kingdom is divided into four kingdoms. That the four wings are mentioned before the four heads, signifies that the kingdom spreads itself over the earth with the speed of a bird's flight, and then becomes a fourfold-kingdom, or divides itself into four kingdoms, as is distinctly shown in Daniel 8:5. - The last statement, and dominion was given to it, corresponds with that in Daniel 2:39, it shall bear rule over all the earth, i.e., shall found an actual and strong world-empire.
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