But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days ,.... Which was just the time Daniel had been mourning and fasting, Daniel 10:2 , and the angel had had his instructions to acquaint him with the Lord's answer to his prayers: by "the prince of the kingdom of Persia" is not to be understood the then reigning king of Persia, Cyrus, or his son Cambyses; who either of them would have been called rather king of Persia; nor were they able to withstand an angel, and such an one as Gabriel; nor is a good angel meant, the tutelar one of this kingdom; for it cannot be reasonably thought that good angels should militate against one another; but an evil angel, either Satan, the prince and god of this world, or one of his principal angels under him, employed by him to do what mischief he could in the court of Persia, against the people of God, the Jews; and with this sense agree the contests ascribed to Satan and the Angel of the Lord concerning Joshua, Zechariah 3:1 and to Michael and the devil disputing about the body of Moses, Judges 1:9 and to Michael and his angels, and the devil and his angels, warring in heaven, Revelation 12:7 , now Gabriel's business in the court of Persia was to work upon the minds of the king of Persia and his nobles, and to influence their counsels, and put them on such measures as would be in favour of the Jews, and be encouraging to them to go on in the rebuilding of their city and temple: in this he was withstood and opposed by an evil spirit that counterworked him; by exasperating the spirit of Cambyses against them; by stirring up the Samaritans to corrupt the Persian courtiers with gifts, to take their part against the Jews; and by influencing them to accept of their gifts, and act in their favour; and this business on the angel's hands, to oppose these measures, detained him at the Persian court for the three weeks Daniel had been fasting and praying:
but, lo, Michael one of the chief Princes, came to help me ; called in the New Testament an Archangel, the Prince of angels, the Head of all principality and power; and is no other than Christ the Son of God, an uncreated Angel; who is "one", or "the first of the chief Princes"
and I remained there with the kings of Persia ; with the king of Persia and his nobles, putting into execution the orders Michael had given him, and so baffled the designs of the evil spirit; and this retarded him from being with the prophet one and twenty days. The Septuagint and Arabic versions very wrongly render the words, "and I left him there with the kings of Persia"; as if Michael was left there by Gabriel, whereas it was just the reverse.