Daniel 10 – Daniel’s Vision of an Angel & The Chaldeans

I guess it’s true, you learn something new every day.  I have studied Your Bible for years, but I always just took the Chaldeans as a, more-or-less, nomadic tribe.

What about…

Daniel 10
Daniel’s Vision of an Angel

The Elamite empire was the first empire in Persia, including Khuzestan and the areas to the north and east.

The Elamite form of government was the system of inheritance and power distribution. The overlord lived in Susa, the city that acted as capital. The overlord ruled with his younger brother closest in age, called the viceroy.

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.

“Third year of Cyrus” – the third year after his conquest of Babylonian in 539 B.C.

2 In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.

3 I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.

4 And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel;

5 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz:

6 His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in color to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.

Nabopolassar
First king of the Late Babylonian Empire (626-605). And father of Nebuchadnezzar II.

After the death of the Assyrian king Aššurbanipal in 631, the situation was confused, and the Babylonians revolted against their two Assyrian governors, Sin-šum-lišir and Sin-šar-iškun. The rebels defeated an Assyrian army, and the Babylonian general Nabopolassar was recognized as king on 23 November 626.

7 And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.

8 Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.

9 Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.

10 And, behold, a hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.

11 And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.

12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.

13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

Aramaic is a family of languages/dialects belonging to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily, which also includes Canaanite languages such as Hebrew and Phoenician.

The Aramaic script was widely adopted for other languages and is ancestral to both the Arabic and modern Hebrew alphabets.

“Prince of the kingdom of Persia” – apparently a demon exercising influence over the Persian realm in the interests of Satan (see also v. 20).  His resistance was finally overcome by the archangel Michael, “the great prince which standeth” over the people of God (12:1).

14 Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.

15 And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.

16 And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength.

17 For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me.

Golden Vase with Winged Monsters
Marlik Region, Iran 14th-13th centuries B.C.

18 Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me,

19 And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.

20 Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.

“Prince of Grecia” – this spiritual power will also have to be opposed.

21 But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.

“Scripture of truth” – perhaps a reference to the divine record of the destinies of all human beings.

The Chaldeans

The Chaldeans were a seminomadic ethnic group first mentioned in ancient sources from the ninth century B.C. as a people from the land of Kaldu. Living in the southern frontier of Babylon, they were organized into tribal “houses,” each of which was headed by a tribal leader.

Marduk-apla-iddina II (left) as king of Babylon in 715 BC, as depicted on a monument commemorating a royal land grant (kudurru).

As these tribes assimilated into the predominant culture and subsequently inherited the empire of Babylonia, the terms “Chaldean” and “Babylonian” became synonymous (Isa 47:1; Dan 9:1).

The first notable Chaldean recorded in Scripture was Merodach-Baladan, king of Babylon, who sent envoys to Hezekiah of Judah for the purpose of forming an anti-Assyrian coalition (2 Kgs 20:12-19; Isa 39:1).

Merodach-Baladan united the Chaldean tribes and, with Elamite assistance, managed to overthrow Assyrian dominance in the region and to rule for a decade before being driven out (c. 722-710 B.C.).

By 626 B.C., as Assyrian power declined, Chaldean power in Babylon experienced resurgence during the reigns of Nabopolassar and his son Nebuchadnezzar. This last dynasty of Babylon is thus known as the Chaldean, or Neo-Babylonian Empire.

Elamite God, Susa, Iran
Beginning of the 2nd millennium B.C.

The reign of the Chaldeans brought the greatest flowering and fame of the Babylonian Empire.Nebuchadnezzar, under whose rule the kingdom of Judah was conquered and exiled (Jer 52),2 in addition to his military achievements is credited with the grandest rebuilding of Babylon’s cultural and religious life.

The city came to be regarded as one of the wonders of the ancient world and was, in the prophet’s words, “Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory Babylonians’ pride” (Isa 13:19).

Because Babylon was famed as a city learning, the term “Chaldean” for priests, astrologers and the  educated class (Dan 2:10;4:7; 5:7). This Chaldean/Neo-Babylonian period marked the beginning of accurate historical, economic and astronomical record keeping.

And also the rise of Aramaic as the lingua franca (commercial language) of the Near East (2:4).  Ultimately the Neo-Babylonian Empire fell to Cyrus of Persia, and the glory of Mesopotamia faded into history.

…Persepolis, does it still exist?