Daniel’s Vision of a Messenger
1In the third year of the reign of King Cyrus of Persia,# The third year of Cyrus’s reign was 536 B.C. Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) had another vision. He understood that the vision concerned events certain to happen in the future—times of war and great hardship.
2When this vision came to me, I, Daniel, had been in mourning for three whole weeks. 3All that time I had eaten no rich food. No meat or wine crossed my lips, and I used no fragrant lotions until those three weeks had passed.
4On April 23,# Hebrew On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This date in the book of Daniel can be cross-checked with dates in surviving Persian records and can be related accurately to our modern calendar. This event occurred on April 23, 536 B.C. as I was standing on the bank of the great Tigris River, 5I looked up and saw a man dressed in linen clothing, with a belt of pure gold around his waist. 6His body looked like a precious gem. His face flashed like lightning, and his eyes flamed like torches. His arms and feet shone like polished bronze, and his voice roared like a vast multitude of people.
7Only I, Daniel, saw this vision. The men with me saw nothing, but they were suddenly terrified and ran away to hide. 8So I was left there all alone to see this amazing vision. My strength left me, my face grew deathly pale, and I felt very weak. 9Then I heard the man speak, and when I heard the sound of his voice, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground.
10Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. 11And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling.
12Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. 13But for twenty-one days the spirit prince# Hebrew the prince; also in 10:13c, 20. of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels,# Hebrew the chief princes. came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia.# As in one Greek version; Hebrew reads and I was left there with the kings of Persia. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. 14Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.”
15While he was speaking to me, I looked down at the ground, unable to say a word. 16Then the one who looked like a man# As in most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text; one manuscript of the Masoretic Text and one Greek version read Then something that looked like a human hand. touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing in front of me, “I am filled with anguish because of the vision I have seen, my lord, and I am very weak. 17How can someone like me, your servant, talk to you, my lord? My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe.”
18Then the one who looked like a man touched me again, and I felt my strength returning. 19“Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!”
As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.”
20He replied, “Do you know why I have come? Soon I must return to fight against the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia, and after that the spirit prince of the kingdom of Greece# Hebrew of Javan. will come. 21Meanwhile, I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one helps me against these spirit princes except Michael, your spirit prince.# Hebrew against these except Michael, your prince.