Daniel 8:27
And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.
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Daniel 8:27. And I Daniel fainted — Rather, languished, or pined, being overwhelmed with grief at the calamities which I learned by the vision were to come upon my countrymen, and also for the profanation of the temple in those days. And I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it — The meaning of this clause seems to be, that though Daniel was greatly troubled at this vision, even after he rose and went about the king’s business, yet he took care to conceal it, so that none might take notice of it.

In the explication of this vision, the usurpations of Antiochus have been referred to, for the primary sense of the ravages committed by the little horn; yet, at the same time, it has been hinted, that there are some strong features in the vision, which favour the opinion of those who refer it to later times, particularly to the rule and dominion of antichrist. “I am of opinion,” says Mr. Wintle, “that, in the spirit of prophecy, both applications were meant to be comprehended; and I see no reason for not extending the prophetic visions, or revelations, to events, to which, by the rules of fair and just interpretation, they shall be found applicable. The only sure way of knowing the meaning of a prophecy is, by comparing it with the accomplishment; and if successions of events shall, in more than one instance, be found to agree, and square exactly with a single series of predicted circumstances, I should be inclined to make the improvement as extensive as may be, consistently with truth and justice; and to acknowledge the wisdom and prescience of the Divine Contriver, who is acquainted with all his works from the foundation of the world, and who could adapt human language, in one form, to such an admirable variety of purposes, thus making his own strength perfect in weakness.”

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.And I Daniel fainted - Hebrew, "I was " - נהייתי nı̂heyēythı̂y. Compare Daniel 2:1. The meaning, according to Gesenius ("Lexicon"), is, "I was done up, and was sick:" - I was done over, etc. Perhaps the "reason" of his using this verb here is, that he represents himself as "having been sick," and then as fainting away, as if his life had departed. The Latin Vulgate renders it langui. Theodotion, ἐκοιμήθην ekoimēthēn - " was laid in my bed." The general idea is plain, that he was overcome and prostrate at the effect of the vision. He had been permitted to look into the future, and the scenes were so appalling - the changes that were to occur were so great - the calamities were so fearful in their character - and, above all, his mind was so affected that the daily sacrifice was to cease, and the worship of God be suspended, that he was entirely overcome. And who of us, probably, could "bear" a revelation of what is to occur hereafter? Where is there strength that could endure the disclosure of what may happen even in a few years?

And was sick certain days - The exact time is not specified. The natural interpretation is, that it was for a considerable period.

Afterward I rose up, and did the king's business - Compare the notes at Daniel 8:2. From this it would appear that he had been sent to Shushan on some business pertaining to the government. What it was we are not informed. As a matter of fact, he was sent there for a more important purpose than any which pertained to the government at Babylon - to receive disclosure of most momentous events that were to occur in distant times. Yet this did not prevent him from attending faithfully to the business entrusted to him - as no views which we take of heavenly things, and no disclosures made to our souls, and no absorption in the duties and enjoyments of religion, should prevent us from attending with fidelity to whatever secular duties may be entrusted to us. Sickness justifies us, of course, in not attending to them; the highest views which we may have of God and of religious truth should only make us more faithful in the discharge of our duties to our fellow-men, to our country, and in all the relations of life. He who has been favored with the clearest views of Divine things will be none the less prepared to discharge with faithfulness the duties of this life; he who is permitted and enabled to look far into the future will be none the less likely to be diligent, faithful, and laborious in meeting the responsibilites of the present moment. If a man could see all that there is in heaven, it would only serve to impress him with a deeper conviction of his obligations in every relation; if he could see all that there is to come in the vast eternity before him, it would only impress him with a profounder sense of the consequences which may follow from the discharge of the present duty.

And I was astonished at the vision - He was stupified - he was overcome - at the splendid appearance, and the momentous nature of the disclosures. Compare the notes at Daniel 4:19.

But none understood it - It would seem probable from this, that he communicated it to others, but no one was able to explain it. Its general features were plain, but no one could follow out the details, and tell "precisely" what would occur, before the vision was fulfilled. This is the general nature of prophecy; and if neither Daniel nor any of his friends could explain this vision in detail, are we to hope that we shall be successful in disclosing the full meaning of those which are not yet fulfilled? The truth is, that in all such revelations of the future, there must be much in detail which is not now fully understood. The general features may be plain - as, in this case, it was clear that a mighty king would rise; that he would be a tyrant; that he would oppress the people of God; that he would invade the holy land; that he would for a time put a period to the offering of the daily sacrifice; and that this would continue for a definite period; and that then he would be cut off without human instrumentality: but who from this would have been able to draw out, in detail, all the events which in fact occurred? Who could have told precisely how these things would come to pass? Who could have ventured on a biography of Antiochus Epiphanes? Yet these three things are true in regard to this:

(1) That no one by human sagacity could have foreseen these events so as to have been able to furnish these sketches of what was to be;

(2) That these were sufficient to apprise those who were interested particularly of what would occur; and

(3) That when these events occurred, it was plain to all persons that the prophecy had reference to them.

So plain is this - so clear is the application of the predictions in this book, that Porphyry maintained that it was written after the events had occurred, and that the book must have been forged.

27. I … was sick—through grief at the calamities coming on my people and the Church of God (compare Ps 102:14).

afterward I … did the king's business—He who holds nearest communion with heaven can best discharge the duties of common life.

none understood it—He had heard of kings, but knew not their names; He foresaw the events, but not the time when they were to take place; thereupon he could only feel "astonished," and leave all with the omniscient God [Jerome].

Was sick certain days; greatly afflicted, to consider the sad calamity that should befall the poor people of God. This he did in compassion and sympathy with his people, upon whom these sufferings should fall.

2. Under the dreadful apprehensions of God’s wrath, provoked by his people’s sins, which made it an act of justice in God to punish them thus severely.

3. That Daniel should not be lifted up with this vision and revelation.

4. That hereby Daniel might be in a due frame of humiliation and posture for prayer.

5. To show the powerful operations and impressions of the mind upon the bodies of men by the passions chiefly of fear and grief, causing often faintings, and consternation, which appear most in thoughtful, good men, whereof are many instances in Scripture, Habakkuk 3:16 Romans 9:1-3. Having digested his grief, and recovered strength, he minded his place, duty, and trust, and concealed the whole, that they might not see it by his countenance; though he had deep thoughts of heart about it.

And I Daniel fainted and was sick certain days,.... Or, "then I Daniel fainted" (x); after he had seen the vision, and had thought upon it, and considered the afflictions that were to come upon the people of God, and the condition the temple, and the worship of it, would be in; these so affected his mind, that he not only fainted away, and was struck with a kind of stupor and amazement, but had a fit of illness upon him, which continued some days; such a nearness and sympathy there are between the soul and body:

afterwards I rose up; from the bed in which he had laid some days ill:

and did the king's business; by which it appears, that, upon the death of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel was as yet continued in the service of the king of Babylon, though perhaps not in the same posts as before, and was not a favourite at court, and so much known as he had been; and also that he was not in reality at Shushan, when he had this vision, but at Babylon:

and I was astonished at the vision; at the things contained in it, which were of so much importance, respecting the kingdoms of the earth, especially the Persian and Grecian empires, and the state of his own people the Jews:

but none understood it: to whom he showed it; none but himself, who was made to understand it by the angel, Daniel 8:16.

(x) So Noldius, Concord. Ebr. Part. p. 309.

And I Daniel fainted, and was sick {q} certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.

(q) Because of fear and astonishment.

27. fainted] The expression is peculiar: if correct, it must mean I was done with, exhausted, the verb being the same that is used in Daniel 2:1 in the passage ‘his sleep was done with upon him.’ It does not occur in this sense elsewhere in the O. T.

for (some) days] so Genesis 40:4 (A.V., R.V., ‘a season’); Nehemiah 1:4.

rose up] from his bed of sickness, as Psalm 41:8.

the king’s business] what business is not stated; nor can we be sure (cf. Daniel 5:13) that the writer pictured him as still holding the office to which Nebuchadnezzar had appointed him some 60 years previously (Daniel 2:48). For the expression, cf. Esther 9:3.

was astonished] cf. on Daniel 4:19.

but none understood it] The expression is strange, and difficult to reconcile with what has preceded: if the vision was to be ‘shut up,’ the remark that no one understood it would seem to be superfluous. Perhaps ‘none’ may be used as in Daniel 8:5; and Daniel himself may be really meant (cf. Daniel 12:8): the meaning will then be that, though the vision had been partly explained to him, he did not understand it fully: Daniel 8:23-25 are, for instance, expressed enigmatically, and without any name being given (Hitz., Bevan). Other renderings are, but no one perceived it (cf. 1 Samuel 3:8 Heb.), i.e. no one perceived that Daniel had had a vision, or of what nature it was (Meinh.); or but no one gave heed (cf. Isaiah 57:1 Heb.; A.V. ‘considering’), viz. to Daniel’s astonishment (Behrm.).

Verse 27. - And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it. The Septuagint omits "fainted," but otherwise agrees with the above. Theodotion evidently has lind the Massoretic text before him; but he has not understood, and has slavishly rendered it word for word. The Peshitta represents also a text practically identical with that of the Massoretes. Jerome also agrees with the received text; he renders the last clause, non erat qui interpretaretur. That Daniel should faint, and remain sick for days - "many days," says the LXX. - is quite in accordance with what we might imagine to be the natural effect of intercourse with the spiritual world. The mental strain and the intense excitement incident upon such an occurrence would necessarily produce a reaction. Afterward I rose up, and did the king's business. We have no distinct evidence of what the business was that took Daniel to Susa, if he was there in reality, and not merely in vision; but we may surmise that it was about the advance of Cyrus Elam and Media were both embraced in the dominion of Cyrus very early. Cyrus had overthrown the Umman-Manda, and delivered Babylon. At that time there seems to have been somewhat of a rapprochement between Nabu-nahid and Cyrus; but at the time before us, Cyrus must have begun to realize his destiny, and possibly would not be easy to on. at with. Daniel may have been plenipotentiary of Babylon at the court of Cyrus, endeavouring to secure a treaty. At the same time, aware that Croesus, the rival of Cyrus, might be called in, he continues the negotiation. I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it. The idea of the word translated "astonished" is "benumbed;" it may be exegetic of the first clause, explaining the cause of the fainting and subsequent sickness. It is clear that Daniel did not regard the command "to guard סתם (satham) the vision" as implying that he should keep it secret. We see, as we said above, that his complaint is that no one understood the vision. Behrmann maintains that מֵבִין (maybeen), "to understand," ought to be translated "marked," "observed," but יָדַע would be the natural verb to use in such a connection, not בַין. Hitzig explains this by saying, "He had imparted the vision to no one." If Daniel had indulged in statements of float kind, the word before us would not have inaugurated a new form of literature. Professor Bevan's interpretation is as farfetched, "And I was no understander thereof." The example he brings forward of ver. 5 is not to the purpose, because the distinction between the first person and the third is too great. Moses Stuart has the same view.

Daniel 8:27In Daniel 8:27 the influence of this vision on Daniel is mentioned (cf. Daniel 7:28). It so deeply agitated the prophet that he was sick certain days, and not till after he had recovered from this sickness could he attend to the king's business. The contents of the vision remained fixed in his mind; the scene filled him with amazement, and no one understood it. Maurer, Hitzig, and Kranichfeld interpret מבין אין (I understood it not,) supplying the pronoun of the first person from the connection. But even though the construction of the words should admit of this supplement, for which a valid proof is not adduced, yet it would be here unsuitable, and is derived merely from giving to סתן (Daniel 8:26) the false interpretation of to conceal. If Daniel had been required to keep the prophecy secret according to the command in Daniel 8:26, then the remark "no one understood it" would have been altogether superfluous. But if he was required only to preserve the prophecy, and it deeply moved him, then those around him must have had knowledge of it, and the amazement of Daniel would become the greater when not only he but all others failed to understand it. To refer מבין אין only to Daniel is forbidden by the comparison with אבין ולא in Daniel 12:8. The fulfilment of this vision can alone lead to its full understanding.
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