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Daniel 12:4

    Daniel 12:4 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    But as for you, O Daniel, let the words be kept secret and the book rolled up and kept shut till the time of the end: numbers will be going out of the way and troubles will be increased.

    Webster's Revision

    But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

    World English Bible

    But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run back and forth, and knowledge shall be increased."

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

    Clarke's Commentary on Daniel 12:4

    Shut up the words, and seal the book - When a prophet received a prediction concerning what was at a considerable distance of time, he shut his book, did not communicate his revelation for some time after. This Daniel was commanded to do, Daniel 8:26. See also Isaiah 29:10, Isaiah 29:11; Revelation 22:10. Among the ancients, those were said to seal, who in the course of their reading stamped the places of which they were yet doubtful, in order to keep them in memory, that they might refer to then; again, as not yet fully understood. This custom Salmasius, in his book De modo Usurarum, p. 446, proves from Hesychius.

    Many shall run to and fro - Many shall endeavour to search out the sense; and knowledge shall be increased by these means; though the meaning shall not be fully known till the events take place: Then the seal shall be broken, and the sense become plain. This seems to be the meaning of this verse, though another has been put on it, viz., "Many shall run to and fro preaching the Gospel of Christ, and therefore religious knowledge and true wisdom shall be increased." This is true in itself; but it is not the meaning of the prophet's words.

    Barnes' Notes on Daniel 12:4

    But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words - To wit, by sealing them up, or by closing the book, and writing no more in it. The meaning is, that all has been communicated which it was intended to communicate. The angel had no more to say, and the volume might be sealed up.

    And seal the book - This would seem to have been not an unusual custom in closing a prophecy, either by affixing a seal to it that should be designed to confirm it as the prophet's work - as we seal a deed, a will, or a contract; or to secure the volume, as we seal a letter. Compare the notes at Daniel 8:26; Isaiah 8:16.

    Even to the time of the end - That is, the period when all these things shall be accomplished. Then

    (a) the truth of the prediction now carefully sealed up will be seen and acknowledged;

    (b) and then, also, it may be expected that there will be clearer knowledge on all these subjects, for the facts will throw increased light on the meaning and the bearing of the predictions.

    Many shall run to and fro - Shall pass up and down in the world, or shall go from place to place. The reference is clearly to those who should thus go to impart knowledge; to give information; to call the attention of men to great and important matters. The language is applicable to any methods of imparting important knowledge, and it refers to a time when this would be the characteristic of the age. There is nothing else to which it can be so well applied as to the labors of Christian missionaries, and ministers of the gospel, and others who, in the cause of Christian truth, go about to rouse the attention of men to the great subjects of religion; and the natural application of the language is to refer it to the times when the gospel would be preached to the world at large.

    And knowledge shall be increased - To wit, by this method. The angel seems to mean that in this way there would be an advance in knowledge on all the subjects of religion, and particularly on the points to which he had referred. This would be one of the characteristics of these times, and this would be the means by which it would be accomplished. Our own age has furnished a good illustration of the meaning of this language, and it will be still more fully and strikingly illustrated as the time approaches when the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole world.

    Having thus gone through with an exposition of these, the closing words of the vision Daniel 12:1-4, it seems proper that we should endeavor to ascertain the meaning of the angel in what is here said, and the bearing of this more particularly on what he had said before. With this view, therefore, several remarks may be made here.

    (1) it seems clear that there was in some respects, and for some purpose, a primary reference to Antiochus, and to the fact that in his times there would be a great rousing up of the friends of God and of religion, as if from their graves.

    (a) The connection demands it. If the close of the last chapter refers to Antiochus, then it cannot be denied that this does also, for it is introduced in immediate connection with that, and as referring to that time: "And at that time."

    (b) The facts referred to would require the same interpretation. Thus it is said that it would be a time of trouble, such as there had never been since the nation existed - a state of things which clearly refers to the calamities which would be brought upon them by the persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanes.

    (c) This interpretation seems to be in accordance with the purpose of the angel to give the assurance that these troubles would come to an end, and that in the time of the greatest calamity, when everything seemed tending to ruin, God would interpose, and would secure the people, and would cause his own worship to be restored. Porphyry then, it appears to me, was so far right as to apply this to the times of Antiochus, and to the events that occurred under the Maccabees. "Then," says he, "those who, as it were, sleep in the dust of the earth, and are pressed down with the weight of evils, and, as it were, hid in sepulchres of misery, shall rise from the dust of the earth to unexpected victory, and shall raise their heads from the ground the observers of the law rising to everlasting life, and the violators of it to eternal shame." He also refers to the history, in which it is said that, in the times of the persecutions, many of the Jews fled to the desert, and hid themselves in caves and caverns, and that after the victories of the Maccabees they came forth, and that this was metaphorically (μεταφορικῶς metaphorikōs) called a resurrection of the dead. - Jerome, in loc. According to this interpretation, the meaning would be, that there would be a general uprising of the people; a general arousing of them from their lethargy, or summoning them from their retreats and hiding-places, as if the dead, good and bad, should arise from their dust.

    (2) This language, however, is derived from the doctrine of the literal resurrection of the dead. It implies the belief of that doctrine. It is such language as would be used only where that doctrine was known and believed. It would convey no proper idea unless it were known and believed. The passage, then, may be adduced as full proof that the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust, was understood and believed in the time of Daniel. No one can reasonably doubt this. Such language is met used in countries where the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is not believed, and where used, as it is in Christian lands, is full proof, even when employed for illustration, that the doctrine of the resurrection is a common article of belief. Compare the notes at Isaiah 26:19. This language is not found in the Greek and Latin classic writers; nor in pagan writings in modern times; nor is it found in the earlier Hebrew Scriptures; nor is it used by infidels even for illustration; and the proof, therefore, is clear that as employed in the time of Daniel the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead was known and believed. If so, it marks an important fact in the progress of theological opinion and knowledge in his times. How it came to be known is not intimated here, nor explained elsewhere, but of the fact no one can have any reasonable doubt. Even now, so clear and accurate is the language, that if we wish to express the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, we cannot do it better than by employing the language of the angel in addressing Daniel. (See Editor's Preface to volume on Job.)

    (3) The full meaning of the language is not met by the events that occurred in the times of the Maccabees. As figurative, or, as Porphyry says, metaphorical, it might be used to describe those events. But what then occurred would not come up to the proper and complete meaning of the prediction. That is, if nothing more was intended, we should feel that the event fell far short of the full import of the language; of the ideas which it was fitted to convey; and of the hopes which it was adapted to inspire. If that was all, then this lofty language would not have been used. There was nothing in the facts that adequately corresponded with it. In the obvious and literal sense, there was nothing which could be called a resurrection to "everlasting life;" nothing that could be called an awaking to "everlasting shame and contempt." There was nothing which would justify literally the language "they shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars forever and ever." The language naturally has a higher signification than this, and even when employed for illustration, that higher signification should be recognized and would be suggested to the mind.

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    Wesley's Notes on Daniel 12:4

    12:4 Seal the book - The book was command to be sealed, because it would be long before the words would be fulfilled, whereas those that were shortly to be fulfilled, were forbidden to be sealed. Shall run - Shall diligently search these prophecies; and they shall know the signs of the times, and wait upon God in the way of his judgments: he means chiefly in gospel - times.