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.

My presumption of any given text is that details matter. If details are included at, or near the start of a section, initial details will be foundational to portions downstream.

  1. Why is it necessary to inform us the fast had reached the 24th day of the first month?
  2. Should we assume this is the first calendar month or religious month?
  • This might be better on Stack Exchange, Biblical Hermeneutics..
    – Nigel J
    May 25, 2022 at 8:35
  • If it was written by Daniel in captivity in Babylon, a reasonable interpretation might be that it was the first month of the Babylonian year (Araḫ Nisānu i.e. Nisan - the first month of the Jewish ecclesiastical year). But the Book of Daniel may have been written many centuries later. As for the 24th of the month, there may be a connection with Haggai 1:15.
    – Henry
    May 25, 2022 at 15:07

1 Answer 1


Yes, specific dates are important, as shown a few verses earlier where Daniel was told by the heavenly messenger, Gabriel, that "From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens' and sixty-two 'sevens'..." (Daniel 9:25). This is not just an unrelated point by way of an introduction to my answer - this is germane to your question.

A few years later, but only a few verses further on in the written record, Daniel is given a vision about a future great war. By the time of the vision, it was the third year of Cyrus after his conquest of Babylonia. However, in Cyrus's first year as king, he issued the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem - 2 Chronicles 36:22 & Ezra 1:1-4. Cyrus's first year began on 24 March, 538 B.C.E. (This is according to a Nisan to Nisan Jewish calendar.) The significance of such details is that it can be worked out (with hindsight) that 483 years passed from the issuing of that decree until Jesus rode into Jerusalem, being acclaimed King.

Now it may become clearer as to why Daniel was inspired by the Holy Spirit to record specific details about dates. This proves that although his visions were spiritual and only seen by him, he received them in real time, during specific periods in history when historic rulers were in place.

Now, chapter 10 vs. 4 and the date Daniel gives there. Perhaps he gives it because (as he writes in verse 7) none of the other men with him by the banks of the Tigris [Hiddekel] river saw what he saw. Interestingly, akin to Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, Saul's entourage were similarly stricken with terror yet did not see what Saul saw. So were the men with Daniel stricken that particular day. They were so terrified, they ran and hid themselves. Perhaps Daniel could call upon them to testify that something supernatural happened that day, even though only Daniel saw the vision of an awesome heavenly one, who spoke to him about his prayer being answered.

Daniel's mention of the fast was peculiar to him, and it followed his realisation that the foretold 70 years of exile were now up. So, he fasted for three weeks.

You correctly say, "If details are included at, or near the start of a section, initial details will be foundational to portions downstream." but my suggestion is that the details about dates in Daniel 9:25 forms the start of a section flowing 'downstream' to Daniel's vision in 10:4, and the importance of the dates connect with the 70 year's exile having ended, and a future coming of Messiah as King. Daniel's three-week fast prepares him, personally, to receive an angelic revelation, though he didn't know that while he fasted.

  • There was something in par. 2 that I still think of a month since you answered. You mentioned a future war. I am very familiar with the near universal interpretation of ch. 10-12. Plus the Dispensationist extention arch-type leap to the future. But strangely it's not distribed as a war. War is a precise thing with precise details. If I ask a question worded specifically to your par. 2 would you describe this war and it's time-line? I would like very much to understand if your take is in anyway differing in detail then the usual. Sep 13, 2022 at 16:29
  • @Nathan Priddis The verse where the angel tells Daniel of a future war is ch.9 vs. 26 which is linked to Messiah being cut off. After that, "the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined." Let me know if you frame a new Q, but personal opinions and interpretations are actively discouraged on this site not least because there are many conflicting opinions and interpretations doing the rounds on this!
    – Anne
    Sep 14, 2022 at 9:16

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