« السابقةمتابعة »
let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.
as an expression of reverence, for God, does not occur elsewhere in the O.T.; but it is found in the Apocrypha, as 1 Macc. iii. 18, R.V. [contrast I Sam. xiv. 6], 19 (cf. v. 60), iv. 10, 24, 55, 2 Macc. ix. 20; and it is especially frequent in the Mishna, as Abhoth, i. 3, 'and let the fear of Heaven be upon you'; ii. 16, let all thy deeds be in the name of Heaven'; iv. 7, 'whoso profaneth the name of Heaven in secret, they punish him (i.e. he is punished) openly.' Cf. Luke xv. 18, 211.
In connexion with the phrase here employed, it may be remarked that the original Jewish sense of the expression, 'kingdom of heaven,' is the rule, or government, of heaven 2.
27. Daniel closes with a piece of practical advice addressed to the king. break off] R.V. marg. 'Ör, redeem'; LXX., Theod., Xúrpwoai. The word (prak), meaning properly to tear away, is common in Aram. (both Targums and Syriac) in the derived sense of tearing away from servitude, death, or danger, i.e. of redeeming (e.g. Lev. xxv. 25, 2 Sam. iv. 9); and occurs twice in that sense in Heb. (Lam. v. 8, Ps. cxxxvi. 24); but though sins might of course be 'atoned for,' or 'expiated,' it is doubtful whether they could be spoken of as 'redeemed': and hence no doubt the word is used here in its more original sense of break off (cf. in Heb. Gen. xxvii. 40 of a yoke, Ex. xxxii. 23, 24), i.e. make a complete end of, cast absolutely away.
by righteousness]i.e. by righteous' conduct: cf. Prov. x. 2, 'righteousness delivereth from death'; xvi. 6, by kindness and truth iniquity is cancelled.' 'Righteousness (PT) acquired, however, in late (postBibl.) Hebrew, as also in Aramaic (Targums, Talmud, Syriac), the special sense of alms or almsgiving: for instance Abhoth, v. 13 (Taylor 19), 'those who give gedākāḥ (t.e. alms); Jerus. Taanith, ii. 65 b, 'three things neutralize an' evif fate, prayer, righteousness (almsgiving), and repentance.' Cf. Mt. vi. 1, where 'righteousness' (R.V.) is the true reading, and 'alms' (A. V.) the (correct) explanation, which has found its way into the textus receptus. In accordance with this usage, LXX. and Theod. (Xenμooúvais), Pesh., Vulg., express the same sense here; but, in view of the context, the limitation of 'righteousness' to such a special virtue cannot be said to be probable. On the contrary, 'righteousness' in its widest sense, especially towards subjects and dependents, is in the O.T. one of the primary virtues of a ruler (2 Sam. viii. 15; Jer. xxii. 15, &c.), which Nebuchadnezzar, as the ideal despot, is naturally pictured as deficient in.
by shewing mercy to the poor] cf. Prov. xiv. 21, where the same two words occur in their Hebrew form.
if haply there may be a lengthening (vii. 12 Aram.) of thy prosperity] 1 See further examples in Dalman, l.c., pp. 178–180; and cf. Schürer2, ii. 454. Dalman, pp. 75-77.
3 LXX also render zedakah by 'alms' in Deut. vi. 25, xxiv. 13; Ps. xxiv. 5, xxxiii. 5, ciii. 6; Is. i. xxviii. 17, lix. 16; Dan. ix. 16; and ‘alms delivereth from death' in Tob. iv. 10, xii. 9, seems based upon Prov. x. 2, similarly interpreted.
All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. At the 28, 29 end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spake, and said, Is not this great 30 Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice 31 from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they 32 shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know
the last word being the subst. corresponding to the adj. rendered at ease or prosperous in v. 4. A.V. marg., and R.V. marg., 'an healing of thy error' (so Ewald), implies changes of punctuation in the two substantives: 'arūkhāh, 'healing,' Is. Iviii. 8 al. (lit. fresh flesh over a wound), for 'arkhāh, and shālūthākh, 'thy error' (iii. 29, vi. 4) for shelwthākh. Theod. (ἴσως ἔσται μακρόθυμος τοῖς παραπτώμασίν σου ὁ Oeos), Vulg., Pesh., also, presuppose the same reading of the last word (though their renderings of the first word are inadmissible).
28-33. The fulfilment of the dream.
29. he was walking upon the royal palace of Babylon] ‘upon' means on the roof of: cf. 2 Sam. xi. 2.
30. spake] answered (ii. 20).
great Babylon] Rev. xvi. 19 (in a figurative sense); cf. Jer. li. 58. I] The pronoun is emphatic.
for the house of the kingdom] for a royal dwelling-place (or residence).
honour] glory (as ii. 37).
The 'India House Inscription' of Nebuchadnezzar is a fine commentary on the words here put into the mouth of the great king: see the abstract of it given in the Introduction, p. xxiv f.
31. The divine rebuke alights immediately upon the king.
there fell a voice from heaven] such as was called by the later Jews a Bath Kol, lit. 'the daughter of a voice' (the accompanying verb being usually 'came forth'), the term applied by them to a divine voice unaccompanied by any visible manifestation. Cf. Apoc. of Baruch, xiii. 1, 'a voice came from heaven,' xxii. 1; and see further Weber, System der Altsynag. Theol. p. 187 f., Dalman, Die Worte Jesu, p. 167 f., Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus, i. 286, and the particulars given in Hamburger's Real-Encyclop. für Bibel u. Talmud, vol. ii., s. v. BATHKOL. The voices from heaven in the N.T. (as Matth. iii. 17, xvii. 5; John xii. 28; Acts xi. 7, 9; Rev. x. 4) would all, in Jewish phraseology, be so described.
And thou shalt be driven...shalt be made to eat grass as oxen] The passives, as v. 25,—with which, indeed, except that one clause is omitted, the present verse agrees almost verbally,
that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and 33 giveth it to whomsoever he will. The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' 34 feathers, and his nails like birds' claws. And at the end of
the days I Nebuchadnezzar lift up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and 35 his kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his
33. The same hour] iii. 6.
the thing] or, the word, i.e. the announcement of vv. 31, 32.
did eat...was wet] The tenses express what was habitual (cf. v. 12). till his hairs were grown, &c.] The delusion under which he was suffering leading him naturally to neglect his person.
34-37. At the end of the appointed time, Nebuchadnezzar's reason returned to him: he owned the sovereignty of the Most High, and was restored to his kingdom; and now, in thankful acknowledgement of His power, he issues his present proclamation.
34. the days] i.e. the seven 'times' of vv. 16, 23, 25, 32.
lift up mine eyes unto heaven] The mute, half-unconscious acknowledgement of the God who rules in heaven, was followed by the return of the king's human consciousness.
and I blessed, &c.] The king gave open and conscious expression to his gratitude, acknowledging and glorifying the power of the Most High.
him that liveth for ever] So xii. 7; cf. vi. 26.
and his kingdom (endureth) with generation and generation] v. 3.
35. are reputed as nothing] better, are as persons of no account (Bevan). The expression is in part, no doubt, suggested by Is. xl. 17 (where the verb rendered 'counted' is the same as that which in the partic. is here rendered 'reputed').
and he doeth &c.] He rules alike in heaven and earth.
the army of heaven] The Aram. equivalent (representing it also in the Targums) for the Heb. 'host of heaven' an expression which denotes sometimes the angels (1 Ki. xxii. 19; Neh. ix. 66), sometimes the stars (Deut. iv. 19, Jer. xxxiii. 22, al.; cf. Ñeh. ix. 6 a)1. Here angelic beings, as opposed to the 'inhabitants of the earth,' are doubtless meant : cf., for the general thought, Ps. ciii. 20.
stay his hand strike his hand, viz. for the purpose of arresting it.
1 See the art. HOST OF HEAVEN in Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible.
hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? At the same 36 time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellers and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol 37 and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgement: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
The same idiom occurs in the Targ. of Eccl. viii. 46 (perhaps borrowed from here); it occurs also in the Talm. more than once, in the sense of to forbid, and (with another word for strike) in Arabic as well. See Ges. Thes. p. 782; Levy, NHWB. iii. 72.
or say unto him, What hast thou done?] Cf. Is. xlv. 9; Job ix. 12; Eccl. viii. 4 b.
36. reason] The word is the same as that which in v. 34 is rendered understanding.
mine honour] my majesty (R.V.), as the word is rendered in A.V. in v. 30. In Heb. the word is regularly used of the majesty of a king (or of God), as Ps. xxi. 5, xxix. 4, xlv. 3, 4.
and my splendour] i.e. my royal state (cf. Ps. xxi. 6 Pesh. [for Heb. 777], I Chr. xxix. 25 Pesh. and Targ. [for Heb. 717]); though others, comparing v. 6, 9, 10, vii. 28, think the recovered brightness of the countenance to be meant. The 'glory' of Nebuchadnezzar's 'kingdom' had been impaired by his absence: it was restored when he reappeared in his usual place and resumed his former royal state.
my ministers (iii. 24, 27) and my lords sought unto me] They welcomed him back, and again consulted him on affairs of state.
excellent majesty] surpassing greatness. See on ii. 31; and, for 'greatness,' cf. v. 22, vii. 27 (A.V. greatness), v. 18, 19 (R. V. greatness). Nebuchadnezzar's final doxology.
extol] or exalt: Ps. xxx. 1, cxviii. 28, cxlv. 1, &c.
the King of heaven] Cf. 3 Macc. ii. 2, Tob. xiii. 7, 11; Dalman, p. 143. truth.. judgement] cf. Ps. cxi. 7.
and those that walk in pride, &c.] Cf. Ez. xvii. 24; Ps. xviii. 27, lxxv. 7; also Prov. xvi. 18. Nebuchadnezzar recognizes that the humiliation which he has experienced is a punishment for his pride.
"The Bible always represents to us that pride and arrogant selfconfidence are an offence against God. The doom fell on Nebuchadnezzar while the haughty boast was still in the king's mouth. The suddenness of the nemesis of pride is closely paralleled by the scene in the Acts of the Apostles in which Herod Agrippa I. is represented as entering the theatre to receive the deputies of Tyre and Sidon"; and, in spite of the ominous warning, which according to the story in Josephus he had received just before, as accepting the blasphemous adulation of the multitude, and as being stricken immediately by a mortal illness (Acts xx. 20—23; Jos. Ant. XIV. viii. 2). "And something like this we see
again and again in what the late Bishop Thirlwall called the 'irony of history'-the cases in which men seem to have been elevated to the very summit of power only to heighten the dreadful precipice over which they immediately fell. He mentions the cases of Persia, which was on the verge of ruin when with lordly arrogance she dictated the peace of Antalcidas; of Boniface VIII., in the Jubilee of 1300, immediately preceding his deadly overthrow; and of Spain, under Philip II., struck down by the ruin of the Armada at the zenith of her wealth and pride. He might have added the instances of Ahab, Sennacherib [cf. Is. x. 12-19, 33-34], Nebuchadnezzar, and Herod Antipas, of Alexander the Great, and of Napoleon" (Farrar, p. 198 f.).
Additional Note on Nebuchadnezzar's madness.
The malady from which Nebuchadnezzar is represented as suffering agrees, as Dr Pusey has pointed out (p. 425 ff.), “with the description of a rare sort of disease, called Lycanthropy, from one form of it, of which our earliest notice is in a Greek medical writer of the 4th cent. A.D., in which the sufferer retains his consciousness in other respects, but imagines himself to be changed into some animal, and acts, up to a certain point, in conformity with that persuasion." Persons thus afflicted imagine themselves for instance to be dogs, wolves, lions, cats, cocks, or other animals, and cry or otherwise behave themselves in the manner of these animals. Marcellus (4 cent. A.D.) says, "They who are seized by the kynanthropic or lykanthropic disease, in the month of February go forth by night, imitating in all things wolves or dogs, and until day especially live near tombs." Galen mentions the case of one who crowed, and flapped his arms, imagining himself to be a cock; and many similar cases are on record in modern times. Dr Pusey states that he found no notice of the exact form of the disease with which Nebuchadnezzar was afflicted (which would be Boanthropy); but there seems to be no intrinsic reason why an ox should not be the animal whose nature was thus assumed. A man who imagined himself to be an ox might naturally enough eat grass like an ox; but a perverted appetite, including, in particular, a desire to devour grass, leaves, twigs, &c., is also an independent characteristic of many forms of insanity. At the same time, persons suffering in these ways are often not entirely, or continuously, bereft of their reason; they are at times aware that they are not what they imagine themselves to be; and frequently (as visitors to lunatic asylums sometimes notice) make on many subjects acute and sensible remarks; so that there is no difficulty in supposing that Nebuchadnezzar could, as seems to be represented in v. 34, have recognized God in prayer even before his reason had wholly returned to him. Dr Pusey refers at some length to the case of Père Surin, who, in exorcising others, fell for many years into a strange malady, in which he believed himself to be possessed, and acted outwardly in the manner of a maniac, and yet remained fully conscious of religious verities, and was inwardly in perfect peace and communion with God.
If therefore it were clear that the narrative in Daniel was the work of a contemporary hand, there does not seem to be any sufficient reason why the account of Nebuchadnezzar's insanity should not be accepted as