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Also in the first year of Darius the Mede, I, even I, stood up to confirm and strengthen him.) (Daniel 11:1)


There is a vital punctuation missing from this verse in the King James Version that is included in the New King James and New International Versions. It is the parenthesis found at the close of verse 1 in chapter 11. The open parenthesis begins in verse 21 of chapter 10 so that the complete parenthetic statement reads, “No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince. Also in the first year of Darius the Mede, I even I, stood up to confirm and strengthen him.”

A parenthetic statement is one that explains or qualifies something in a sentence or paragraph. While it is important, the parenthetic statement can be dropped from the sentence or paragraph and it will still make sense. In the sentence: John, a policeman, walked into the police station; “a policeman” is the parenthetic statement that explains who John is. Without the parenthetic statement the sentence reads: John walked into the police station. This sentence makes sense without the parenthetic statement but the statement gives meaning to the sentence that helps us to understand what it means. John is probably a policeman reporting for work since he is a policeman. Without the parenthetic statement we might surmise that John is walking into the police station to report a crime or to pay a traffic ticket.

The parenthetic statement in 10:21–11:1 tells us something about the person said to have the likeness of a man that is mentioned earlier in verse 18 of chapter 10. Removing the parenthetic statement, we see that verse 2 of chapter 11 is the continuation of verse 20 of chapter 10, and it becomes obvious that this person having the likeness of a man is about to reveal another prophecy to Daniel. In chapter 10 verse 20 this person speaks of fighting with the prince of Persia and in chapter 11 verses 2 and 3 he tells Daniel that four Persian kings are to come and then the might king of Greece will come.

The prophecy in chapter 11 concerns the Greek kings that will follow Alexander the Great. They are referred to as the Kings of the South and North. The Greek Empire was divided into four parts after the death of Alexander. In this prophecy only the Ptolemies and the Seleucids are involved, the Ptolemies being the kings of the south and the Seleucids being the kings of the north. The first principle of Daniel’s prophecies is that they concern the four world-wide kingdoms that affect the Israelites from the time of the Babylonian captivity to the coming of Messiah. Of the four divisions of the Greek Empire, only the Ptolemies and the Seleucids ever ruled over the Jews.

Chapter 12 of the Book of Daniel may or may not be part of this prophecy, but it follow chapter 11 as if it is included in the dialogue of this prophecy. The daily sacrifice being taken away is mentioned in verse 11 of chapter 12, which is germane to the prophecy, so it appears that chapter 12 is indeed part of the prophecy. So, for the purpose of discussing this prophecy, chapters 10, 11, and 12 will be considered relative to and part of the prophecy.




The Book of Daniel presents its prophecies in the chronological order in which Daniel received them. Chapter 7 with the prophecy of the four beasts was given in 553 b.c. in the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon. Chapter 8 with the prophecy of the Ram and the Male Goat was given in 5551 b.c. in the third year of Belshazzar. Chapter 9 with the prophecy of the 70 Weeks was given in 539 b.c. in the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia.

Daniel had been given the understanding of the prophecies he received up to this time and he knew the reached out into the future beyond his time. He had lived through the overthrow of the Babylonian Empire by the Persians. His people had been treated with relative kindness during the Babylonian captivity and now his people were returning to Jerusalem under the orders of Cyrus, the Persian king. Even though the Jews experience benevolent treatment under the Persians, in about sixty years the persecution recorded in the Book of Esther would take place. It may be that Daniel’s mourning mentioned in verse 2 of chapter 10 was in anticipation of that persecution. While it would not affect him personally, it would certainly hurt the Jews of the future, a people he loved very dearly.




Daniel mourned and fasted for three whole weeks until a remarkable person appeared to him by when he was by the Tigris River. In chapter 10 verse 15 this remarkable person morphs into one having the likeness of the sons of men, who brings him the prophecy of the Kings of the South and North. Matthew Henry provides some more background.


He was now lamenting the difficulties which his people met with in the present day; but, that he might not be offended in those, . . . Daniel must be made to know what shall befal his people in the latter days of the church, after the cessation of prophecy, and when the time drew nigh for the Messiah to appear, for yet the vision is for many days; the principal things that this vision was intended to give the church the foresight of would come to pass in the days of Antiochus, nearly 300 years after this. Now that which the angel is entrusted to communicate to Daniel, and which Daniel is encouraged to expect from him, is not any curious speculations, moral prognostications, nor rational prospects of his own, though he is an angel, but what he has received from the Lord.


Dr. Henry uses the word “church”, which, in this context, means Israel under the Old Testament. This is common usage of Bible commentators of the time and it does not refer to the New Testament church. He also refers to the person appearing to Daniel as an angel and implies this person’s knowledge is limited to what he has received from the Lord. Comparing the appearance of this person to similar appearances in the Bible, we conclude this person is actually Christ.

Daniel received this prophecy when he was by the Tigris River, which shows us he was still in Babylon even though Babylon was now under the rule of the Persians. He sees a vision of a man:


I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude. (Daniel 10:5–6)


The appearance of this man is identical in concept to the description of Christ the Apostle John gave in Revelation 1:13–16:


. . . and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.


Matthew Henry comments on the similarities:


There he looked up, and saw one man Christ Jesus. It must be he, for he appears in the same resemblance wherein he appeared to St. John in the isle of Patmos, Revelation 1:13–15. His dress was priestly, for he is the high priest of our profession, clothed in linen, as the high priest himself was on the day of atonement, that great day; his loins were girded (in St. John's vision his paps were girded) with a golden girdle of the finest gold, that of Uphaz, for every thing about Christ is the best in its kind. The girding of the loins denotes his ready and diligent application to his work, as his Father's servant, in the business of our redemption. His shape was amiable, his body like the beryl, a precious stone of a sky-colour. His countenance was awful, and enough to strike a terror on the beholders, for his face was as the appearance of lightning, which dazzles the eyes, both brightens and threatens. His eyes were bright and sparkling, as lamps of fire. His arms and feet shone like polished brass, v. 6. His voice was loud, and strong, and very piercing, like the voice of a multitude.


The reactions of Daniel and John to this appearance are similar:




Daniel lost his strength (10:8) Fell down like a dead man (1:17)
Daniel heard his voice (10:9) A loud voice (1:10)As the sound of many waters (1:15)

Daniel touched with his hand (10:10)


Jesus laid His right hand on John (1:17)
Do not fear, Daniel (10:12) Do not be afraid (1:17)
Purpose of the vision is to make Daniel understand what will happen in the later days (10:14) John is told the things he will see are the things that will shortly come to pass (1:19)

Notice how much the appearance of Christ in Daniel and Revelation is similar to the appearance of the glory of the Lord seen in Ezekiel 1:26–29.

 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.

 Also, notice that Ezekiel’s response to the vision of the Lord is the same as that of Daniel and John: So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I hear the voice of One speaking. (Verse 29b).




Christ told Daniel he had been delayed three weeks by the prince of Persia, who at this time was Cyrus. He tells Daniel in verse 20 He must return and fight with him. The Hebrew word fifth is law-kham, meaning to feed on or to consume and, by implication, it means to do battle or make war. In the context of what Christ is saying, think more of a battle or words than armies locked in conflict. Adam Clarke puts a meaningful turn on this fight:


To remove all the scruples of Cyrus, and to excite him to do all that God designs him to do for the restoration of my people, and the rebuilding of the city and temple of Jerusalem. Nothing less than a supernatural agency in the mind of Cyrus can account for his decree in favor of the Jews. He had no natural, no political inclination to it; and his reluctance to obey the heavenly motions is here represented as a fight between him and the angel.


Christ tells Daniel that after He has dealt with Cyrus and has the Jews returned to their homeland, He will step out of the way and then the prince of Greece will come.




Before giving Daniel the actual prophecy, Christ tells him there will be a series of Persian kings before the Greeks come. Chapter 11 verse two indicates three Persian kings will come and then a forth king will arise who will be far richer than the other kings who will cause trouble with the Greeks.

There were eleven Persian kings in all, Cyrus being the first from 559 b.c. to 530 b.c. and Darius III being the last and reigning from 336 b.c. until the Persians were defeated at the hands of Alexander the Great in 331 b.c. What Christ said to Daniel does not imply only four Persian kings following Cyrus; what He said indicated that the fourth king after Cyrus would be the one who would cause the trouble with Greece leading to Persia’s eventual defeat.

Cyrus was the king of Persia at the time Daniel received the prophecy. Following him were Cambyses, 529 b.c. to 522 b.c.; Smerdis, 522 b.c.; and Darius I, 522 b.c. to 486 b.c. The fourth king to follow Cyrus was Xerxes I, known in the Bible as Ahasuerus. He reigned from 486 b.c. to 465 b.c. and was known for his great wealth. He is also the king that set up the eventual destruction of the Persian Empire by forming an alliance with the enemies of Greece with the intent to add Greece to him empire. Adam Clarke confirms this:


Three more kings will arise in PersiaGabriel had already spoken of Cyrus, who was now reigning; and after him three others should arise. These were, 1. Cambyses, the son of Cyrus. 2. Smerdius, the Magian, who was an impostor, who pretended to be another son of Cyrus. And, 3. Darius, the son of Hystaspes, who married Mandane, the daughter of Cyrus. Cambyses reigned seven years and five months; Smerdis reigned only seven months; and Darius Hystaspes reigned thirty-six years


The fourth shall be far richer than them allThis was Xerxes, the son of Darius, of whom Justin says. “He had so great an abundance of riches in his kingdom, that although rivers were dried up by his numerous armies, yet his wealth remained unexhausted.”


He shall stir up all against the realm of GreeceHis military strength was such, that Herodotus, who lived in that time, informs us that his army amounted to five millions, two hundred and eighty-three thousand, two hundred and twenty men. Besides these, the Carthaginians furnished him with an army of three hundred thousand men, and a fleet of two hundred ships. He led an army against the Greeks of eight hundred thousand men, and twelve hundred and seven ships, with three banks of rowers each. As he marched along, he obliged all the people of the countries through which he passed to join him.


The remaining six kings of Persia are inconsequential to the prophecy that follows. Christ begins the prophecy in verse 3, “Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.” This mighty king is Alexander the Great and the Greek Empire. This verse sets up the following prophecy by introducing the kings of the south and north. As this prophecy unfolds it will be seen that it covers the same time in history as the prophecy of the Ram and the Male Goat, only in more detail as it concerns portions of the Greek Empire.