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Commentary On Daniel Volume 2 by Jean Calvin

Daniel 11:1

1. Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.

1. Et ego anno primo Darii medi steti in roboratorem, et auxilium illi.

Interpreters explain this verse in various ways. Some think the angel fought for the Persian king, and follow up their opinion, because he did not for the first time begin now to defend that monarchy in favor of the chosen people, but had done so from the very beginning. Others refer this to Michael, as the angel declares that he introduced the assistance of Michael. But that is forced and cold. I do not hesitate to state the argument to be from the greater to the less, and we have an instance of this in a tragedy of Ovid's. I have been able to preserve you; do you ask whether I can destroy you? Thus the angel says, I have erected the Persian monarchy; I have not the slightest doubt of my present power to restrain these kings, lest they should pour forth their fury upon the people. The full meaning is this, the king of the Persians is nothing, and can do nothing except through me. I was God's servant in transferring the monarchy of the Medes and Chaldeans to the Persians, as well as that of the Babylonians to the Medes. God, says he, entrusted me with that office, and so I placed Darius upon the throne. You now see how completely I have him in my power, and how I can prevent him from injuring my people should he be so inclined. When the angel boasts of his standing forward to help Darius, he claims nothing to himself, but speaks as it were in the person of God. For angels have no power distinct from God's when he uses their agency and assistance. There is no reason for any inquiry whether the angel ought to use this boastful language and claim anything for himself. For he does not claim anything as really his own, but he skews himself to have been an agent in the change of dynasty when Babylon was subdued by the Medes, and the empire transferred to Darius. For although, as we have previously shewn, Cyrus obtained the victory, yet he transferred the honors of government to his uncle Cyaxares. The Hebrews are accustomed to consider him as king for the first two years; Cyrus began to reign after this period; and now, when the angel appears to Daniel, the third year had arrived, as we saw at the beginning of the chapter.

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