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sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.


Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This 31 great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron 33 and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out 34 without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them in pieces. Then was 35 the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no

31-35. Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar his dream. 31. sawest] more exactly, wast seeing. So v. 34.

This image, which was mighty, and whose brightness was surpassing] Excellent' in Old English (from excello, to rise up out of, to surpass) had the distinctive meaning, which it has now lost, of surpassing, preeminent; and it is regularly to be understood with this force, wherever it occurs in P.B.V. of the Psalms, in A. V., and (usually) even in R.V. See the passages cited in the Note at the end of the Chapter; and cf. Blundeville, Exercises, fol. 156 a (ed. 1594), stars are not seen by day "because they are darkened by the excellent brightness of the sun" (W. A. Wright, Bible Word-book, s.v.).

form] aspect (R.V.), or appearance. Cf. Gen. xii. 11, 2 Sam. xiv. 27 (and elsewhere), where the Hebrew is lit. 'fair of aspect.'

32, 33. The head of the image was of gold; but its substance deteriorated more and more until the feet were reached, which were of mingled iron and clay.

32. This image's head was, &c.] more forcibly, and also in better agreement with the original, As for that image, its head was, &c. brass] i.e. copper (or bronze): see Wright's Bible Word-book.

34. was cut out] viz. from a neighbouring mountain (see v. 45). without hands] without human cooperation; it seemed to fall away of itself. But of course the implicit thought is that its secret mover was God: cf. the similar expressions in viii. 25 end ('shall be broken without hand,' of the death of Antiochus Epiphanes); Job xxxiv. 20; Lam. iv. 6: also (in a different connexion) 2 Cor. v. 1, Heb. ix. 24.

35. The absolute dissipation of the image. The feet being broken, the entire image fell to pieces; and the fragments were dispersed by the wind. A fall would not naturally break masses of metal into fragments small enough to be scattered by the wind; but in a dream physical impossibilities or improbabilities occasion no difficulty.

threshingfloors] which were generally on exposed or elevated spots, where the chaff might readily be cleared away by the wind. ~ Cf. Hos. xiii. 3, Is. xli. 16, Ps. i. 4; and with no place, &c., Rev. xx. 11.

interest; it has no bearing upon the sense in which the author applied his materials, or upon the exegesis of the vision (cf. Wellhausen, Skizzen, vi. 232-5). Some verbal parallels between Dan. i.-vi. and the 'Story of Aḥikar 1,' have suggested also the inference that the author of Dan. was perhaps acquainted with the last-named work: see J. Rendel Harris, The Story of Aḥikar (Camb. 1898), pp. lvii—lx, lxxxiii, 25, 72, 73, 87, 101, and Barton, Amer. Journ. of Sem. Lang., July 1900, p. 242 ff.

For the history of the Seleucidae, the English reader will now turn naturally to the elaborate and masterly work of E. R. Bevan, in two vols. (published since the first edition of the present Commentary appeared), called The House of Seleucus; and for that of the Jews (during the period referred to in the Book of Daniel) to the same writer's briefer and more popular, but brilliantly written volume, Jerusalem under the High-Priests. Five lectures on the period between Nehemiah and the New Testament (1904).

The 'Achiacharus' of Tob. i. 21, 22, ii. 10, xi. 18, xiv. 10 (cf. Harris, p. xxviii). The story is a 'midrash,' or moralizing narrative, describing how Ahikar, a vizier of Sennacherib, being accused falsely of treason, was cast into a dungeon, and how afterwards he was delivered, and his accuser consigned to the dungeon in his stead (cf. Tob. xiv. 10),

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P. 138 bottom, 139 (ix. 25-6). It is, however, quite possible that we should read, with Grätz: 'it shall be built again, with broad place and street. (26) And at the end [so LXX. (in v. 27), Pesh., Bevan, von Gall, Marti] of the times, after the threescore' &c.

P. 140-1 (ix. 26). Marti reads, with von Gall and partly Bevan : 'and the city and the sanctuary shall be destroyed, together with [DY for Dy: so LXX. Theod. Pesh.] a prince [viz. Onias III]; and the end [viii. 17] shall come with a flood' &c.

P. 174 (xi. 18). It should have been stated that the Heb. rendered nay,...even' is very strange. Perhaps Marti is right in developing a clever suggestion of Bevan's (based on the LXX.), and reading (for the whole second part of the verse): 'but a commander shall turn back (i.e. requite) his reproach to him seven-fold' (see Ps. lxxix. 12 Heb.).

P. 193. In illustration of the divine honours assumed by Antiochus, see also the evidence collected from inscriptions by E. R. Bevan, Journ. of Hellenic Studies, 1900, pp. 26-30, respecting the worship of the Seleucidae in different cities of the East.


N the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah 1 came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem,



The first part of the book, describing the experiences of Daniel and his three companions under Nebuchadnezzar (chs. i.-iv.), Belshazzar (ch. v.), and Darius the Mede (ch. vi.).


Chap. i. describes how Daniel and his three companions, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, came to be in Babylon, at the court of Nebuchadnezzar, the scene of the events narrated in the following chapters (ii. iv.). Nebuchadnezzar, in the third year of Jehoiakim, king of Judah (B.C. 605), laid siege to Jerusalem: part of the vessels of the Temple and some Jewish captives fall into his hands and are carried by him to Babylon (vv. 1, 2). He there gives directions for a number of youths of noble blood, including some of the Jewish captives, to be instructed in the language and learning of the sacred caste, and educated for the king's service (vv. 3-7). Among these youths are Daniel and his three companions, who, while content to pursue the studies prescribed by Nebuchadnezzar, crave and obtain permission to be allowed not to defile themselves in any way by partaking of the special delicacies provided for them from the king's table (vv. 8—16). At the expiration of three years, when the education of the selected youths is completed, the four Jewish youths are found to be distinguished beyond all the others in wisdom and knowledge, Daniel being skilled in particular in the interpretation of visions and dreams; they are accordingly admitted to the rank of the king's personal attendants (vv. 17-21).

The chapter serves a double purpose. It both serves as an introduction to the Book generally; and also teaches the practical lessons of the value, in God's eyes, of obedience to principle, and of abstinence from self-indulgence. The rule which the four Jewish youths felt called upon to obey was indeed a ceremonial rule, of no permanent obligation; but it was one which, to Jews living amongst heathen, acquired sometimes a supreme importance (cf. on vv. 8-10), so that obedience to it became a most sacred duty.

1. In the third year &c.] Whether this is historically correct is



doubtful. Jehoiakim's reign lasted eleven years (B.C. 608-597); and the Book of Jeremiah (xxv. 1) equates his fourth year with the first year of Nebuchadnezzar. Early in the same year (if the date in Jer. xlvi. 2 is correct1) there had taken place the great defeat of the Egyptians by Nebuchadnezzar at Carchemish on the Upper Euphrates, the effect of which was to transfer the whole (virtually) of Western Asia from the power of Egypt to that of Babylon (cf. Jer. xxv. 9-II, 18-26, xlvi. 25 f.; 2 Ki. xxiv. 7). We learn, now, from Berosus (ap. Josephus, Ant. X. xi. 1) that in this campaign Nebuchadnezzar was acting on behalf of his father, Nabopolassar, who was too infirm to conduct the war himself: 'hearing soon afterwards of his father's death, and having arranged the affairs of Egypt and the remaining country (i.e. Coele-Syria and Phoenicia, mentioned just before), and committed the Judaean, Phoenician, and Syrian prisoners, as well as those of the nations in Egypt, to some of his friends to convoy to Babylon with the heavy part of his army, he himself hastened home across the desert accompanied only by a few attendants.' Although Judahite captives are here mentioned, nothing is said of any siege of Jerusalem; and the terms in which Jeremiah speaks, not only in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (xxv. 9 ff.), but also in his fifth year (xxxvi. 29, see v. 9), seem to imply that a Chaldaean invasion of Judah was still in the future (Ewald, Hist., iv. 257, n. 5, Keil), and that Jehoiakim had not already, in his third year, fallen into Neb.'s hands.

On the other hand, in the summary of Jehoiakim's reign which, in 2 Chr. xxxvi. 6, 7, takes the place of 2 Ki. xxiv. 1-4, we read, 'Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters to carry him to Babylon. And some of the vessels of the house of Jehovah brought Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon; and he put them in his palace in Babylon': but the year in which this invasion took place is not specified; and a statement which rests on the authority of the Chronicler alone, and is not supported by contemporary testimony, is of slight value. It bears witness, however, to the existence, at about 300 B.C., of a tradition respecting an attack upon Jerusalem, and the carrying away of a part of the sacred vessels of the Temple, during Jehoiakim's reign, which is also no doubt the basis of Dan. i. 1, 2. The tradition, it must be owned, wears the appearance of being a Haggadic development of 2 Ki. xxiv. I. Those who defend the accuracy of the statement of Daniel sometimes (Hengst., Keil, Zöckler) understand ('came'), with reference to the starting-point, virtually as equivalent to set out, sometimes suppose that Nebuchadnezzar made an attack upon Jerusalem either (Hävernick, Pusey, p. 401) the year before the battle of Carchemish, or (Behrmann, p. xvii) after it, but that more serious consequences were for the time averted by Jehoiakim's timely submission, and the surrender of some of the valuable vessels of the Temple. The

1 See the Introduction, p. xlix.

2 The invasion of Judah by Neb., and the three years' submission of Jehoiakim, mentioned in 2 Ki. xxiv. 1, 2, are also certainly to be placed after Jehoiakim's fourth year-most probably, indeed, towards the close of his reign (cf. Ewald, 7. c.).

According to Josephus (Ant. x. vi. 1) Neb., after the battle of Carchemish, 'acquired possession of the whole of Syria, as far as Pelusium, except Judah'; and only made Jehoiakim tributary four years afterwards (2 Ki. xxiv. 1).

and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of 2 Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the

first of these explanations is opposed to Heb. usage; the second, though possible in the abstract, is not strategically probable; the third, though it cannot be categorically rejected, seems scarcely consistent with what appears, from other indications, to have been the historical situation at the time. Cf. Ewald, iv. 264, n. 2.

Nebuchadnezzar] So v. 18, and uniformly in this book. The more correct form of the name is Nebuchadrezzar (properly Nabû-kudurriușur, i.e. (probably) 'Nebo, protect [Heb. ] the boundary!'), which

is the one usually found in contemporary writers, as Jer. xxi. 2, 7 (and generally in Jer.); Ezek. xxvi. 7, xxix. 18, 19, 301.

king of Babylon] Nebuchadnezzar did not become 'king of Babylon' until after the battle of Carchemish, in Jehoiakim's fourth year (Jer. xxv. 1, xlvi. 2), so that the title must be used here (as in Jer. xlvi. 2) proleptically. There is no authority in either Berosus or the Inscriptions for the supposition sometimes made that Nebuchadnezzar was associated on the throne by his father, Nabopolassar.

2. gave into his hand Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and part, &c.] To 'give into the hand,' as Jud. iii. 10; Jer. xx. 4, xxi. 7, xxii. 25, and frequently. The expression is a strong one, and seems to imply that the writer had in view a defeat, and not merely a timely submission.

the house of God] A frequent expression in late writers for the Temple (e.g. 2 Chr. iii. 3, iv. 19, v. 1, 14, vii. 5): earlier writers say nearly always the house of Jehovah' (e.g. 1 Ki. vii. 40, 45, 48, 51).

which he carried] and he brought them. The pron. (as the text stands: see below, p. 4) refers to the vessels.

Shinar] properly Shin'ar, a Hebrew name for Babylonia (Gen. x. 10, xi. 2, xiv. 1, 7; Josh. vii. 21; Isa. xi. 11; Zech. v. 11), here, no doubt, an old expression revived. The explanation of the name is uncertain, as nothing directly parallel has been found hitherto in the Inscriptions. According to some Assyriologists there are grounds for supposing it to be a dialectic variation of Shumer, the name given in the Inscriptions to South Babylonia2; but this explanation is not accepted by all scholars. to the house (i.e. temple) of his god] If any stress is to be laid upon the particular deity intended, it would be Marduk (the Merodach of Jer. 1. 2), the patron-god of Babylon. According to 2 Chr. xxxvi. 7, the vessels which Nebuchadnezzar brought to Babylon in the reign of Jehoiakim were placed by him in his palace. But see the next note.

1 The incorrect form with n is found in Jer. xxvii-xxix. (except xxix. 21: see Baer's note on xxi. 2); in 2 Ki. xxiv-xxv. ; and in Chr., Ezr., Neh., Est.

2 As in the common title of the Assyrian kings, 'King of Shumer and Akkad' (Akkad being North Babylonia): so Delitzsch, Paradies (1881), p. 198, Assyr. Gramm. (1889), § 49a, Rem.; Schrader, KAT.2, p. 118 f.; Prince, p. 58.

3 Cf. Dillmann on Gen. x. 1o. Sayce, Patriarchal Palestine, p. 67 f., connects the name with Sangar, a district a little W. of Nineveh.

1 See, however, Ezr. i. 7, v. 14, though the gold and silver vessels mentioned here may be those carried away by Nebuchadnezzar with Jehoiachin (Jer. xxvii. 16 [see v. 20, and cf. 2 Ki. xxiv. 13], xxviii. 3), or Zedekiah (2 Ki. xxv. 14, 15).

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