1. In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.
1. Anno tertio Cyri regis Persarum sermo revelatus fuit Danieli, cujus nomen Beltsazar, et veritas sermo, et tempus magnum, et intellexit sermonem, et intelligentia ei fuit in visione.
We observe the Prophet by no means content with the usual method of address, for the purpose of stirring up the attention of the pious, and of assuring them how worthy of special notice are the prophecies which follow. He marks the time, the third year of King Cyrus, as the Jews were then forbidden by a new edict to build their temple, although liberty to do so had been previously granted to them. He says, |a word| was made known to him, and he adds, the word was true, although the time was long. The time is treated more at length in the next verse. By saying, a word was manifested to him, he is thought to distinguish this prophecy from others, as it was not offered to him by either a dream or a vision. He uses the word mr'h, merah, a |vision,| at the end of this verse, but I do not see why the noun |word| should be taken in so restricted a sense. Interpreters, again, seek for a reason why he mentions his own name as Belteshazzar; some think it celebrates some honor to which he was raised; others treat it as commending the superiority of his abilities, as the name implies -- descended from heaven; while others bring forward various conjectures. I have no hesitation in stating Daniel's wish to erect some illustrious monument of his vocation among the Medes, Persians, and Chaldeans. There, most probably, he was usually called Belteshazzar, and the name Daniel was almost buried in oblivion, and so he wished to testify to his being no stranger to the people of God, although he suffered a foreign name to be imposed upon him; for we have already seen the impossibility of his avoiding it. I therefore think the Prophet had no other intention than to render this prophecy notorious throughout all those regions in which he was well known under the name of Belteshazzar. Besides this, he wished to testify to his fellow-countrymen that he was not entirely cut off from the Church through being called Belteshazzar by the Chaldees; for he was always the same, and while banished from his country, was endued with the Spirit of prophecy, as we have previously seen. As the name of Daniel was almost unknown in Chaldea, he wished to make known the existence of both his names.
It now follows, And there is truth in the word Daniel here commends the certainty of the prophecy, as if he had said, I bring nothing before you but what is firm and stable, and whose actual performance the faithful ought confidently to expect. There is truth in the word, says he; meaning, there was no room for doubting his assertions, for he had been divinely instructed in events which should be fulfilled in their own time. I understand what follows to mean, although the time should be long. Some of the Rabbis take tsv', tzeba, for the angelic hosts, which is quite absurd in this place. The word signifies |army| as well as an appointed time, but the exposition which they thrust upon the passage cannot stand its ground. The particle |and,| as I think, must here be taken adversatively, in the sense of |although.| Thus the Prophet proclaims our need of calmness of mind, and patient endurance, until God shall really complete and perform what he has verbally announced. This feeling ought to be extended to all prophecies. We know how ardent are the dispositions of men, and how hastily they are carried away by their own desires. We are compelled, therefore, to curb our impetuosity, if we wish to make progress in the school of God, and we must admit this general principle: If a promise should tarry, wait for it; for it will surely come, and will not delay. (Habakkuk 2:3) Here Daniel affirms in a special sense, the time will be long this would restrain the faithful from rushing headlong with too much haste; they would command their feelings, and remain tranquil till the full maturity of the period should arrive.
He afterwards adds, He understood the vision; by this assertion he confirms the prophecy which he is about to explain, and thus assures us of his not uttering anything either perplexed or obscure. He also induces all the pious to hope for the exercise of the same understanding as he had himself attained; as if he had said, I know what God wished; he has explained to me by his angel various events which I will now set forth in their own order; let every one peruse these prophecies attentively and reverently, and may God grant him the same gift of understanding, and lead him to certain knowledge. The information conveyed by the Prophet belongs to all the pious, to deter them from sluggishness and despair. At the first glance this teaching may appear very obscure, but they must seek from the Lord that light of manifestation which he deigned to bestow upon the Prophet himself. It now follows, --