Yoseph Janowski
By the Grace of G-d

Daniel, Final Chapters

The following is a suggested, possible analysis of the final chapters in the Book of Daniel.

Chapter 9
Daniel tries to calculate when the second Temple will be rebuilt, and he prays to G-d to restore the glory of the Jewish people. This teaches us the importance of longing for the Redemption, and praying to G-d to bring it soon.

Chapter 10
An angel begins to tell Daniel what will happen in the end of days.

Chapter 11 (from verse 36)
These verses seem to accurately describe Napoleon Bonaparte. (The significance of mentioning him will be explained later in chapter 12.)

36. “And the king will do what he wants, and he will raise himself and make himself greater above every power; and he will speak unheard of words against G-d, and he will be successful until [G-d’s] anger will cease, when [the decree] will be cut and done.” Napoleon Bonaparte was extremely egotistical.

37. “And he won’t [care to] think about his fathers’ gods; and he won’t think about the needs of women or about any power, because he will make himself great above everything.” At that time France rejected the monarchy. Napoleon accepted this rejection, even though it went against the tradition of his family. Later he made himself emperor because he wanted the power. Two days after his wedding he went off to fight battles, leaving his wife alone for a long period of time. So he didn’t consider what his wife or anyone else wanted, because he put himself above all.

38. “He will honor the god of fortresses where he dwells; he will honor a god that his fathers didn’t know, with gold and silver and precious stone and desired objects.”
As Napoleon conquered lands and he wanted to win people over, he pretended to honor their religion. For example, he proclaimed that he will reestablish the Sanhedrin and build the Temple for the Jews.

39. “And he will construct buildings [in honor of] foreign gods; and he will give much honor to his acquaintances and appoint them to rule many people; and he will give away land for a [small] price.” In 1806 he named his brother King of Naples. And on other occasions he appointed family members to various posts. In 1803 he sold about one third of the United States to the Americans for fifteen million dollars, which was an extremely low amount. This sale was called the Louisiana Purchase. (See the commentary Rashi: “bidomim kalim” – for a paltry sum.)

Now begins an account of his battles:
40. “And in the end time a king from the south will clash with him; and a king of the north will storm against him with chariots and horsemen and many ships; and he will come to lands and he will overwhelm and pass on.” In 1793 Spain (south) and England (from the north with many ships) clashed against Napoleon in southern France. Later, from 1796 to about 1808, Napoleon won many battles and conquered much territory.

41. “And he will come to the desired land (Israel – see the commentary Metzudos), and many will stumble; and Edom, Moav and the best of Bnai Amon will escape from his hand.” About 1798, he attacked Egypt and continued into Israel, going up the Mediterranean coast until Acre. He couldn’t conquer Acre, so he retreated, and thus he wasn’t able to attack lands east of Israel. (Edom, Moav, and Bnai Amon are the biblical names of the lands east of Israel.)

42. “And he will send his hand against countries. And Egypt will not escape.”

43. “And he will rule over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and all the desired objects of Egypt; and he will step on Lubim and Cushim.” He brought many scientists and experts with him. They unearthed, examined, and documented many Egyptian treasures. But he only “ruled” over the treasures for two years and didn’t manage to take them back to France, because England reconquered Egypt and the treasures. There are accounts that the French destroyed a Libyan village (Lubim) after some French soldiers disappeared there.

44. “And reports about the east and the north will frighten him; and he will go forth with great anger to destroy and annihilate many.” Russia is in the east. England is in the north. In 1807, Russia signed a treaty with Napoleon in which Russia agreed to not trade with England. But in 1811, Russia decided to trade with England. News of this infuriated Napoleon, and he waged war against Russia. Napoleon lost the war; and later in 1815 England and Prussia defeated him.

45. “And he will pitch his palace-like tents between the seas and the holy mountain (of Israel); and he will meet his end and there will be no one there to help him.”
He conquered much territory, but at the end he was all alone. Even his own men mutinied against him He died in 1821 while in exile on an island.

Chapter 12
1. “And at that time, Michoel (Michael), the great Minister (angel) who stands ready (to defend) your nation’s people, will stand up; and it will be a period of oppression the likes of which had never occurred since the time [the Jews] became a nation until then. And during that time, all of your nation who are found to be written in a book will escape.” Napoleon brought liberal laws to the lands that he conquered, thus making it easier for Jews to interact and assimilate with non-Jews. This spiritual darkness was devastating.

2 – 5. In these verses the angel mentions that the dead will one day come alive. He instructs Daniel to conceal the words until the end of days. Then Daniel sees two angels standing on the banks of the river.

6. “And he [one of the angels on the river bank] said to the man [angel] dressed in linen who was standing above the river waters: ‘Till when [will be] the end of the wonders?'” The word “Peleh” (wonder) also means “hidden.” As the verse says (Deuteronomy 17,18) “Ki Yipolei mimcho hadovor lamishpot.” (If a judgment matter will be hidden (unknown) to you). When something seems beyond us and hidden, we say that we “wonder” about it. So perhaps the angel was asking, when will the hiding end? When will we see G-d’s revelations?

7. “And I heard the man (angel) dressed in linen who was above the waters of the river, and he raised his right and left hands to the heavens, and he swore by the life of the world, that at a set date, at two set dates, and a half; and when the hand of the holy nation will finish spreading forth (meaning when the Jewish people will complete their mission to refine the world) then all of this will be completed.”
In the context of the angels’ discussion, it would seem that “a set date” means a very important date in the history of the Jewish people (especially as it relates to exile, when G-dliness is hidden, which is what the angel was asking about). The watershed event that affected the Jewish nation so powerfully was the destruction of the Temple, when their exile began. (It’s interesting to note that the term “moied” (set date) is also used in Eicha (2,22) in reference to the destruction of the Temple.)
So we can say that a “set date” refers to the date of the destruction of the Temple. The first Temple was destroyed on the 9th day of Menachem Av in the Jewish year 3338. “Two set dates” would refer to the destruction of both Temples. The second Temple was destroyed on the 9th day of Menachem Av in 3828. “And a half” means that we should divide the above time (from creation until 9 Menachem Av 3828) by half, and add it to 9 Menachem Av 3828. When we divide 3828 years by half, we get 1914 years. When we divide 304 days (which is an approximation of the number of days from 1 Tishrei 3828, till 9 Menachem Av 3828) by half, we get 152 days.
So when we take 9 Menachem Av 3828, and we add 1914 years and 152 days, we arrive at 12 Teves 5743 (1983 CE).

8 – 10. Daniel doesn’t understand. The angel tells Daniel that the words will be hidden until the end of time. He says that many will try to decipher it, but only the “maskilim” (those who impart wisdom) will understand.

11. “And from the time of the stopping of the daily sacrifice, and the placing of the despicable [idol], days: 1290.”

12. “Happy is the one who waits and reaches days: 1335.”

13. The angel then tells Daniel that he (Daniel) will arise at the end of days.
On the 17th day of Tamuz we fast to commemorate five events which occurred on that day. One event is that the daily sacrifice stopped. Another event is that an idol was placed [by the enemy] in the Temple. So it seems that (in verse 11) the angel is telling us to count from the 17th day of Tamuz (when the daily sacrifice stopped, and when the idol was placed in the Temple). Since we just counted (in verse 7) to 12 Teves 5743, it makes sense to move ahead to 17 Tamuz 5743, and to continue counting from there. When we start from 17 Tamuz 5743 and we add 1292 (we add 2 days to 1290, since “yomim” (days) means at least 2 days), and 1337 days (1335 plus 2), we reach 18 Elul 5750 (1990 CE). The 18th day of Elul (the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov and Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi) is considered by many to be a preparation for the following year (which in this case would be the year 5751).
In 5751 (1990-1991 CE) we witnessed the miraculously swift ending of the first Gulf War, and we saw how G-d protected the Jewish people from the scud missile attacks. And we witnessed the falling of the USSR (in a generally bloodless revolution) leading to the end of the Cold War. So two thousand and four hundred years ago, the angel told Daniel exactly when the Divine revelations would begin.

The above inspires more optimism regarding Moshiach, and more enthusiasm in learning Torah and doing Mitzvos, in order to fulfill our mission to make the world a dwelling place for G-d. And just as we witnessed tremendous G-dly revelations when we left Egypt, right up to the present time, may we now merit to see the complete redemption with our righteous Moshiach.

About the Author
The author lives in Toronto, Canada. He has written for