Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Daniel 4:13

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

A watcher and a holy one - These are both angels; but, according to the Chaldean oracles, of different orders. They appear, according to their opinions, to be a kind of judges of human actions who had the power of determining the lot of men; see Daniel 4:17.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed - In the visions that passed before me as I lay upon my bed, Daniel 4:10.

And, behold, a watcher and an holy one - Or rather, perhaps, “even a holy one;” or, “who was a holy one.” He evidently does not intend to refer to two beings, a “watcher,” and “one who was holy;” but he means to designate the character of the watcher, that he was holy, or that he was one of the class of “watchers” who were ranked as holy - as if there were others to whom the name “watcher” might be applied who were not holy. So Bertholdt, “not two, but only one, who was both a watcher, and was holy; one of those known as watchers and as holy ones.” The copulative ו (v ) and may be so used as to denote not an additional one or thing, but to specify something in addition to, or in explanation of, what the name applied would indicate. Compare 1 Samuel 28:3: “In Ramah, even (ו v ) in his own city.” 1 Samuel 17:40: “and put them in a shepherd‘s bag which he had, even (ו v ) in a scrip.”

Compare Psalm 68:9 (10); Amos 3:11; Amos 4:10; Jeremiah 15:13; Isaiah 1:13; Isaiah 13:14; Isaiah 57:11; Ecclesiastes 8:2. - Gesenius, “Lex.” The word rendered “watcher” (עיר ‛ı̂yr ) is rendered in the Vulgate vigil; in the Greek of Theodotion the word is retained without an attempt to translate it - εἴρ eir the Codex Chisianus has ἄγγελος angelos - “an angel was sent in his strength from heaven.” The original word (עיר ‛ı̂yr ) means, properly, “a watcher,” from עיר ‛ı̂yr to be hot and ardent; then to be lively, or active, and then to awake, to be awake, to be awake at night, to watch. Compare Malachi 2:12. The word used here is employed to denote one who watches, only in this chapter of Daniel, Daniel 4:13, Daniel 4:17, Daniel 4:23. It is in these places evidently applied to the angels, but “why” this term is used is unknown. Gesenius (“Lex.”) supposes that it is given to them as watching over the souls of men.

Jerome (in loc.) says that the reason why the name is given is because they always watch, and are prepared to do the will of God. According to Jerome, the Greek ἴρις iris as applied to the rainbow, and which seems to be a heavenly being sent down to the earth, is derived from this word. Compare the “Iliad,” ii. 27. Theodoret says that the name is given to an angel, to denote that the angel is without a body - ἀσώματον asōmaton - “for he that is encompassed with a body is the servant of sleep, but he that is free from a body is superior to the necessity of sleep.” The term “watchers,” as applied to the celestial beings, is of Eastern origin, and not improbably was derived from Persia. “The seven Amhaspands received their name on account of their great, holy eyes, and so, generally, all the heavenly Izeds watch in the high heaven over the world and the souls of men, and on this account are called the watchers of the world.” - Zendavesta, as quoted by Bertholdt, in loc. “The Bun-Dehesh, a commentary on the Zendavesta, contains an extract from it, which shows clearly the name and object of the watchers in the ancient system of Zoroaster. It runs thus: “Ormuzd has set four “watchers” in the four parts of the heavens, to keep their eye upon the host of the stars.

They are bound to keep watch over the hosts of the celestial stars. One stands here as the watcher of his circle; the other there. He has placed them at such and such posts, as watchers over such and such a circle of the heavenly regions; and this by his own power and might. Tashter guards the east, Statevis watches the west, Venant the south, and Haftorang the north.” - Rhode, Die heilige Sage des Zendvolks, p. 267, as quoted by Prof. Stuart., in loc. “The epithet “good” is probably added here to distinguish this class of watchers from the “bad” ones, for Ahriman, the evil genius, had “Archdeves” and “Deves,” who corresponded in rank with the Amhaspands and Izeds of the Zendavesta, and who “watched” to do evil as anxiously as the others did to do good.” - Prof. Stuart. It is not improbable that these terms, as applicable to celestial beings, would be known in the kingdom of Babylon, and nothing is more natural than that it should be so used in this book. It is not found in any of the books of pure Hebrew.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The beginning and end of this chapter lead us to hope, that Nebuchadnezzar was a monument of the power of Divine grace, and of the riches of Divine mercy. After he was recovered from his madness, he told to distant places, and wrote down for future ages, how God had justly humbled and graciously restored him. When a sinner comes to himself, he will promote the welfare of others, by making known the wondrous mercy of God. Nebuchadnezzar, before he related the Divine judgments upon him for his pride, told the warnings he had in a dream or vision. The meaning was explained to him. The person signified, was to be put down from honour, and to be deprived of the use of his reason seven years. This is surely the sorest of all temporal judgments. Whatever outward affliction God is pleased to lay upon us, we have cause to bear it patiently, and to be thankful that he continues the use of our reason, and the peace of our consciences. Yet if the Lord should see fit by such means to keep a sinner from multiplying crimes, or a believer from dishonouring his name, even the dreadful prevention would be far preferable to the evil conduct. God has determined it, as a righteous Judge, and the angels in heaven applaud. Not that the great God needs the counsel or concurrence of the angels, but it denotes the solemnity of this sentence. The demand is by the word of the holy ones, God's suffering people: when the oppressed cry to God, he will hear. Let us diligently seek blessings which can never be taken from us, and especially beware of pride and forgetfulness of God.
Ellen G. White
Education, 177

While the nations rejected God's principles, and in this rejection wrought their own ruin, it was still manifest that the divine, overruling purpose was working through all their movements. Ed 177.1

This lesson is taught in a wonderful symbolic representation given to the prophet Ezekiel during his exile in the land of the Chaldeans. The vision was given at a time when Ezekiel was weighed down with sorrowful memories and troubled forebodings. The land of his fathers was desolate. Jerusalem was depopulated. The prophet himself was a stranger in a land where ambition and cruelty reigned supreme. As on every hand he beheld tyranny and wrong, his soul was distressed, and he mourned day and night. But the symbols presented to him revealed a power above that of earthly rulers. Ed 177.2

Upon the banks of the river Chebar, Ezekiel beheld a whirlwind seeming to come from the north, “a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the color of amber.” A number of wheels, intersecting one another, were moved by four living beings. High above all these “was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.” “And there appeared in the cherubims the form of a man's hand under their wings.” Ezekiel 1:4, 26; 10:8. The wheels were so complicated in arrangement that at first sight they appeared to be in confusion; but they moved in perfect harmony. Heavenly beings, sustained and guided by the hand beneath the wings of the cherubim, were impelling these wheels; above them, upon the sapphire throne, was the Eternal One; and round about the throne a rainbow, the emblem of divine mercy. Ed 177.3

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Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 207.3

A holy Watcher notes every work and action of our lives, and weighs every motive that prompts to action. The hand that traced the characters on the wall of Belshazzar's palace is everywhere writing, “God is here.” God is in every place. All our words, all our plans, all our secret motives, are weighed in the balances of infinite justice and truth. UL 207.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 152.1

A Vivid Vision of Adultery—While in Europe the things that transpired in _____ were opened before me. A voice said, “Follow me, and I will show you the sins that are practiced by those who stand in responsible positions.” I went through the rooms, and I saw you, a watchman upon the walls of Zion, were very intimate with another man's wife, betraying sacred trusts, crucifying your Lord afresh. Did you consider that there was a Watcher, the Holy One, who was witnessing your evil work, seeing your actions and hearing your words, and these are also registered in the books of heaven? TSB 152.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 139.2

I dare not keep these things from you. I hope you will now seek the Lord with your whole heart, that you may find Him. Better go in humility all the rest of your life than to lose your own soul and be the means of other souls being lost through your course of action. Sin does not appear exceeding sinful to you, but God says, “I know thy works.” So every deception you have practiced, every false word you have uttered, and to every unholy action there has been a watcher from whom you could not exclude yourself. TSB 139.2

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