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In Daniel 10:2-3 ,12-14 (NIV) we read:

²At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. ³I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.

¹²Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. ¹³But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. ¹⁴Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”

Why did Michael wait 21 days to come to help the angel that was sent to Daniel? Why didn't Michael intervene right away?

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6 Answers 6

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Why did Michael wait 21 days to come to help the angel that was sent to Daniel?

Perhaps God was testing the angel to see if he would turn to the dark side.

12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel."

This applied to the angel as well. If he were afraid, how could he convince Daniel not to be?

Why didn't Michael intervene right away?

God hadn't given him the order yet.

Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.

Another example of delay is in John 11:6

So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,

God was waiting for the delay to be completed. Everything happens in God's timing.

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  • What does 'detention' mean in this context?
    – user38524
    Jan 8, 2021 at 16:30
  • a kind of delay. I added to my answer.
    – user35953
    Jan 8, 2021 at 16:38
  • @Spirit Realm Investigator - The action is not 'detention' but Notarti (נוֹתַ֣רְתִּי) = 'remained' * meaning waiting. Jan 8, 2021 at 16:42
  • Good point. I changed the wording.
    – user35953
    Jan 8, 2021 at 16:51
  • The ‘wait’ or delay in raising Lazarus was to fulfil prophecy - and (so) does not apply in any way to Daniels situation.
    – Dave
    Jan 9, 2021 at 1:30
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I heard Dr. Tony Evans preach on this matter exactly. He says that when the first Angel was sent, there was a blockage that was too much for the first Angel to handle.

The second Angel, the Seraphim Angel Michael, was called/sent as reinforcement.

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    – agarza
    Apr 22, 2022 at 20:31
  • +1. Two is in majority over one, in other words. Interesting way of looking at it. Apr 22, 2022 at 22:47
  • Hi, welcome to the site - could you expand on your answer? This post would make a useful comment; we usually look for more information in an answer. Thanks for contributing! Apr 23, 2022 at 1:38
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Michael did not ‘wait’ 21 days. This is an inference. The situation is clear. Daniel was in a land which had had been assigned to another ‘god’. (Sons of God/Deut 32).

Israel was ‘in’, therefore ‘under’ another nation. (And their god(s)). The prince of Persia (angel/son of God) had a ‘right’, every right to resist the angel trying to get through to Daniel. And, there is clearly both a hierarchy, and a ‘difference in might’ amongst angelic beings. (e.g. Rev 12).

All of this is clearly explained biblically, so no need to speculate. The only issue is does [or can] this view ‘fit’ your accepted theology - for some, particularly if it is ‘traditional - it possibly won’t. So this answer will not suit all.

..... [cont] Further to this, the delay was due to the struggle [in the heavenly realm]. I have explained the reason for the delay. Revelation 12 also talks about an angelic encounter ...

REV 12:7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail,[snip]

Note, this ‘struggle’ was not ‘instant’ - and so it was in Daniels case. The prince of Persia would have been a formidable foe, hence the intervention of Michael.

It is unlikely that Daniels prayer and fasting had any impact, as the angel clearly said the answer was dispatched as soon as Daniel asked. If you ‘think’ that Daniels prayer and fasting made ‘the/a’ difference, and can substantiate that, I’d be interested. The New Testament clearly talks about praying, then believing you receive..... that is, the ‘manifestation’ may not be ‘instant’.

As for why the period was 21 days? I have no idea. This answer explains the reason for the delay, and, specifically that it was not Michael waiting. I suspect that angels are ‘busy’ with their roles, and they are not omniscient, nor omnipresent. The first angel was certainly ‘engaged’ (at the start.).

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    Do you mean after 21 days the prince of Persia's 'right' to resist the angel got legally revoked? If so, why did it take 21 days for that to happen? Why the delay?
    – user38524
    Jan 9, 2021 at 1:48
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    @Dave You have explained why there was "legal" resistance by the prince of Persia assigned by God. Michael probably outranks the prince of Persia, so Michael could overcome the resistance. But you have not explained the delay. Jan 9, 2021 at 2:03
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    @GratefulDisciple - I've got the feeling that maybe the delay had something to do with Daniel's praying and fasting. Jesus had to fast for 40 days before he could return in the power of the Spirit and be able to cast out any demon, whereas some disciples were unable to due to lack of praying and fasting. Maybe the praying and fasting by humans is a crucial variable within the complex "spiritual legal right system".
    – user38524
    Jan 9, 2021 at 2:34
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    "All of this is clearly explained biblically" then clearly explain it.
    – RonJohn
    Jan 9, 2021 at 3:34
  • @Spirit Realm Investigator (and GratefulDisciple ) - My answer explained that Michael did not ‘wait’ 21 days, rather, that’s how long before Michael came around to intervening. i.e. Michael was not ‘waiting’. (Nevertheless, I have added an amendment.)‬
    – Dave
    Jan 9, 2021 at 17:41
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The name Michael / Mikael (מִֽיכָאֵ֗ל) means "Who [is] like God?". * The duty of The-Seraphim / Ha-Seraphim (הַשְּׂרָפִ֔ים) is to glorify God. - As a Seraph, Mikael appears in Daniel 10:13 on the 21st day so that (21) אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה is glorified.

Regarding Daniel 10:13, Joseph ibn Yahya writes:

והנה שר מלכו׳ פרס וגו׳ הע׳ אומות יש להם בשמים ע׳ שרים וכן לישראל יש שר אחד והוא מיכאל. ואמנם יתחלף שר ישראל בהנהגת עמו. מהנהגת שאר השרים לאומותיהם. כי שרי העמים הם המה אלהיהם ויפעלו בהם כאלוהות ולא יושגחו מזולת שריהם. ואמנם ישראל הם מושגחים מה׳ ואם מיכאל יפעל בם יהיה במצו׳ קונו ולא יעשה קטנה או גדולה בלי רשותו. וספר המלאך גבריאל כי בכ״א יום שדניאל היה מתפלל בעד עמו להרחיק מעליהם הרעה. שר מלכות פרס אשר לפי טבע מערכות השמים היה ראוי שישעבד ישראל לפרס היה לנגדו מגבריאל שהיה מחלה פני אל שלא יגלה ישראל באומרו לפני האלוה יתברך שלא היה ראוי להסיר ממנו לחם חקו ואשר השמים נתנו אליו ברצון קונו

[https://www.sefaria.org/Daniel.10.13?lang=bi&with=Joseph%20ibn%20Yahya&lang2=en]

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    Daniel's state of mind is nowhere, in the narrative, in view. This answer does not make sense. Nor does it answer the question regarding the delay. Nor can it be proved from scripture. It is irrelevant conjecture.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 8, 2021 at 15:23
  • In 21 days you will understand אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה better by being asked מִֽיכָאֵ֗ל MiKaEl? Jan 8, 2021 at 16:21
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If we consider Biblical cosmology, the divine counsel’s judicial system (Psa 82,89) and the division of territories among the Benei ha’Elohim (Deu32:8) one could make the case that the message was impeded from reaching Daniel on legal grounds.

Daniel was on the Persian territory, it was under the jurisdiction of the Persian Prince (think principality or god of that nation/kingdom).

“The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia,” ‭‭Daniel‬ ‭10:13‬ ‭

Notice he could not pass until Michael came.

The message was received and a messenger was sent to Daniel but the messenger was impeded from bringing the message to Daniel. The Hebrew says the prince stood before him and the LXX Greek says right opposite, or right in front of him. This tells us, the messenger did not have right of passage. Michael came to help give the messenger a right of passage.

Paul makes a similar case

“for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭16:9‬ ‭

Daniel’s response was impeded until Michael came to give order to the prince to let the messenger pass. Why did it take this long for the stay order to be overruled? I’m sure there were sufficiently strong arguments brought before the divine counsel that had to be ironed out before Michael was given the go ahead or authorization that would help the messenger.

One has to understand that Daniel was receiving information that would give a very big advantage to humanity in what relates their redemption and the opposition was probably throwing the book at this case to stop the revelation from being given to men. The content was extremely valuable.

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I think Daniel himself made the delay, he determined to pray and fast 3 weeks, his heart and mind was not ready for the answer yet, that's why in his fulfilment, the door opened.. if he intended in his heart to pray for one day, the prince wouldn't have the ground to stand against his answer, that's y the length matched..

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  • Daniel 10:13a: "But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days." Do you suggest that Daniel was the prince of the Persian kingdom? Feb 20, 2023 at 14:52