Friday, April 25, 2014

Daniel 10:1-12:13


Chapter 10 serves as an introduction to the final vision of the book of Daniel. On the banks of the Tigris, after 3 weeks of fasting and mourning, in the third year of Cyrus of Persia (some 70 years after the Daniel was taken into exile), Daniel sees a vision of a man dressed in linen. His companions don't see the vision but run away in fright nevertheless. The "man" is clearly a heavenly messenger. He's been delayed, he says, because of a squabble with the "prince of Persia," another heavenly figure. Michael, the prince of Israel, came to the "man's" aid.

Chapter 11 relates the narrative of "future" events which the linen-clad man gives to Daniel. "Future" in this case represents narrative time.What we have is a highly detailed accounting of events from the time of Persian rule, through Alexander the Great's conquest, the break-up of his empire, the jockeying for power that occurred between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies, down to the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. At which point the narrative becomes rather vague. This leads critical scholars to conclude that the book of Daniel was written at the time of Antiochus IV.

Daniel 11:31 mentions the "abomination of desolation" (a phrase translated in various ways) which probably refers to Antiochus's desecration of the Jerusalem Temple.

Chapter 12:1-5 are the only unambiguous reference to resurrection in the Hebrew Bible. It is worth noting that only "some" are raised, not all. Among those raised, some are rewarded, others punished. The book ends with a contradictory set of numbers in verses 11 and 12. Verse 13 promises Daniel that he will be among the resurrected.

Next: Hosea 1-7

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