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?


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.

  • What does 'detention' mean in this context? – Spirit Realm Investigator Jan 8 at 16:30
  • a kind of delay. I added to my answer. – Tony Chan Jan 8 at 16:38
  • @Spirit Realm Investigator - The action is not 'detention' but Notarti (נוֹתַ֣רְתִּי) = 'remained' * meaning waiting. – חִידָה Jan 8 at 16:42
  • Good point. I changed the wording. – Tony Chan Jan 8 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 at 1:30

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? – Spirit Realm Investigator Jan 9 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. – GratefulDisciple Jan 9 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". – Spirit Realm Investigator Jan 9 at 2:34
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    "All of this is clearly explained biblically" then clearly explain it. – RonJohn Jan 9 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 at 17:41

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


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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 at 15:23
  • In 21 days you will understand אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה better by being asked מִֽיכָאֵ֗ל MiKaEl? – חִידָה Jan 8 at 16:21

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