on Daniel 11 :1
In the first year of Darius the Mede - This is a continuation of the preceding discourse. Bp. Newton, who is ever judicious and instructing, remarks: It is the usual method of the Holy Spirit to make the latter prophecies explanatory of the former; and thus revelation "is a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." The four great empires shown to Nebuchadnezzar, under the symbol of a great image, were again more particularly represented to Daniel under the forms of four great wild beasts. In like manner, the memorable events that were revealed to Daniel in the vision of the ram and he-goat, are here more clearly revealed in this last vision by an angel; so that this latter prophecy may not improperly be said to be a comment on the former. It comprehends many signal events. The types, figures, and symbols of the things are not exhibited in this, as in most other visions, and then expounded by the angel; but the angel relates the whole: and, not by way of vision, but by narration, informs Daniel of that which is noted in the Scripture of truth, Daniel 10:21.
on Daniel 11 :1
Also I-- I the angel. He alludes here to what he had done on a former occasion to promote the interests of the Hebrew people, and to secure those arrangements which were necessary for their welfare - particularly in the favorable disposition of Darius the Mede toward them.
In the first year of Darius the Mede - See the notes at Daniel 5:31. He does not here state the things contemplated or done by Darius in which he had confirmed or strengthened him, but there can be no reasonable doubt that it was the purpose which he had conceived to restore the Jews to their own land, and to give them permission to rebuild their city and temple. Compare Daniel 9:1. It was in that year that Daniel offered his solemn prayer, as recorded in Daniel 9; in that year that, according to the time predicted by Jeremiah (see Daniel 9:2), the captivity would terminate; and in that year that an influence from above led the mind of the Persian king to contemplate the restoration of the captive people. Cyrus was, indeed, the one through whom the edict for their return was promulgated; but as he reigned under his uncle Cyaxares or Darius, and as Cyaxares was the source of authority, it is evident that his mind must have been influenced to grant this favor, and it is to this that the angel here refers.
I stood to confirm and to strengthen him - Compare the notes at Daniel 10:13. It would seem that the mind of Darius was not wholly decided; that there were adverse influences bearing on it: that there were probably counselors of his realm who advised against the proposed measures, and the angel here says that he stood by him, and confirmed him in his purpose, and secured the execution of his benevolent plan. Who can prove that an angel may not exert an influence on the heart of kings? And what class of men is there who, when they intend to do good and right, are more likely to have their purposes changed by evil counselors than kings; and who are there that more need a heavenly influence to confirm their design to do right?
on Daniel 11 :1