In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia
Not of his being king of Persia only, but of the Medopersian empire, after he had subdued the Babylonian empire, and annexed it to his dominions; and this is not to be reckoned from the time of his taking Babylon, and putting the government of it into the hands of his uncle Darius, with whom he jointly reigned; but from the time of his uncle's death, when he was sole monarch of the whole empire: he reigned thirty years, as Cicero F20, from a Persian writer, relates; which is to be reckoned from the time of his being appointed by his uncle commander-in-chief of the Persian and Median armies; for from his taking of Babylon to his death were but nine years; and so many years the canon of Ptolemy assigns to his reign, taking in the two years he reigned with his uncle; for from his being sole monarch, after the death of Cyaxares, or Darius the Mede his uncle, were but seven years; which, according to Xenophon F21, is the whole of his reign, who reckons it from thence; and it was in the third of these that Daniel had the visions contained in this and the two following chapters; which, according to Bishop Usher F23, and Dean Prideaux F24, was in the year of the world 3470 A.M. and 534 B.C. Mr. Bedford F25 places it in the year 533 B.C.: how long Daniel lived after this is not certain; very probably he died quickly after, since he must be in a very advanced age; for the third year of Cyrus being the seventy third of his captivity, as Dean Prideaux
F26 observes; and if he was eighteen years of age, as that learned man thinks is the least that can be supposed at the time of his carrying into Babylon, he must have been in the ninety first year of his age at this time; or if he was but fifteen years of age at that time, which is the opinion of Aben Ezra on ( Daniel 1:4 ) , he must be in the third year of Cyrus eighty eight years of age. The Dutch annotators observe, that Daniel lived in the court of Babylon above seventy seven years, which will carry his age to a greater length still. Jarchi on ( Daniel 1:21 ) asserts Daniel to be the same with Hatach in ( Esther 4:5 ) and so the Targum on that place, who lived in the times of Ahasuerus, supposed to be Xerxes: now between the third of Cyrus, and the beginning of Xerxes's reign, is mentioned a space of seventy one years, which, added to the least number eighty eight before given, will make Daniel now to be one hundred and fifty nine years old, when Ahasuerus or Xerxes began his reign; which is not only an age unfit for such business Hatach was employed in; but agrees not with the period in which Daniel lived, when it was not usual for men to live so long, and must be exploded as fabulous: a thing was revealed unto Daniel;
a secret, which he otherwise could never have known; and which was a singular favour to him, and showed him to be a friend of God, a favourite of his; and this respected the Persian and Grecian monarchies; the various kings of Egypt and Syria, and what should befall them; and the times of Antiochus, and the troubles the Jews would have through him: (whose name was called Belteshazzar);
a name given him by the prince of the eunuchs; see ( Daniel 1:7 ) : and the thing was true;
was not a false vision, a mere fancy of the brain, an empty conjecture, a delusion of the mind, like the divination and soothsaying of the Gentiles, but a real thing, that was sure and certain, and would be fulfilled, and might be depended upon: but the time appointed was long; ere the whole would be accomplished; for it reached to the times of Antiochus, three hundred years after this, yea, to the resurrection of the dead, and the end of all things: or, "a great host", or "army" F1; a vast appearance of things were represented to him; not a host of angels, as Saadiah; but a vast number of facts, like an army of them, and which respected armies and battles; or it may denote the force, power, and efficacy of the word that was true, which should not fail, but be certainly fulfilled: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision;
that is, Daniel understood "the word" F2, or words of the prophecy, in which it was expressed; they were clear and plain, and not obscure, dark, and doubtful; and he had a clear view of each of the parts of it, of the whole series of things, the connection of facts, and their dependence on one another, and their certain accomplishment; he saw them in their order, as they were presented to him in vision and prophecy; and was not at any loss about the meaning of any part of them, or the words by which they were signified.
F20 De Divinatione, l. 1.
F21 Cyropaedia, l. 8. c. 45.
F23 Annales Vet. Test. A. M. 3470.
F24 Connexion par. 1. p. 161, 162.
F25 Scripture Chronology, p. 718.
F26 Ut supra. (Connexion par. 1. p. 161, 162)
F1 (lwdg abuw) "et militia magna", Pagninus, Montanus, Gejerus; "militia seu belligeratio ingens", Michaelis.
F2 (rbdh ta) "verbum", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster.