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the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof. The Chaldeans answered be- 10 fore the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can the fatal moment when the truth must appear, and when their inability to interpret his dream must be exposed.
because ye see that the word spoken by me is sure, (9) That, if, &c.] Because you see that I am resolved to punish you, if you do not fulfil the conditions I lay down (v. 5).
9. That, if ye make not known unto me the dream, there is but one law for you] you can expect nothing else but punishment. Lit. your law (i.e. the law or sentence against you) is one, implying that it is unalterable and inevitable; cf. Est. iv. II. The word for 'law' (dāth) is Persian, Zend dāta, Mod. Pers. dad (see the Introduction, p. lvi).
and (also) lying and corrupt words ye have agreed to speak before me] pretending falsely that you will be able to explain the dream, if it is only told you.
prepared] So the Kt.; but the Qrê, 'ye have prepared yourselves, or agreed together (cf. Am. iii. 3 Targ.), is more in accordance with usage (see Levy, Chald. W. B., s.v.).
before me] to speak 'before,' rather than 'to,' a king, is the language of respect so vv. 10, 11, 27, 36, v. 17, vi. 12; Est. i. 16, vii. 9, viii. 3. Cp. on vi. 10.
till the time be changed] till circumstances take a favourable turn, and the king, for instance, has his attention diverted to something else.
therefore tell me, &c.] if they are able to tell him the dream, it will be a guarantee to him that their explanation will be trustworthy.
10. shew] declare.
therefore, &c.] forasmuch as (R.V.) no great and powerful king (cf. R.V. marg.) hath asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. As no king has ever thought of making such a demand, it may be fairly concluded to be one which it is impossible to satisfy.
11. rare] difficult: properly heavy. The word has the same sense sometimes in Syriac, as Ex. xviii. 18, in the Peshitta.
requireth] asketh (as v. 10), which indeed is all that the translators of III meant by their rendering: for require formerly did not express the idea now attaching to the word of demanding as a right. So elsewhere in A.V., as 2 Sam. xii. 20; Prov. xxx. 7 (R.V. asked); Ezr. viii. 22 (R. V. ask); and in P.B.V. of the Psalms, as Ps. xxvii. 4, xxxviii. 16, xl. 9, li. 6, cxxxvii. 3.
shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is 12 not with flesh. For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men 13 of Babylon. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.
Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, which was gone forth to slay
whose dwelling is not with flesh] i.e. who are superhuman, supramundane beings.
12. wise men] of those versed in occult arts, as Gen. xli. 8; Jer. 1. 35 (of Babylon), and several times in the sequel (cf. p. 15). Similarly wisdom, Ís. xlvii. 10 (of Babylon), and ch. i. 17, 20.
13-16. Daniel and his three companions, being regarded now (cf. i. 17—20) as belonging to the class of wise men,' and being consequently involved in the condemnation, are in danger of their lives; but Daniel, through Arioch's intervention, obtains an audience of the king, and promising to tell him his dream, gets execution of the sentence deferred.
13. the decree went forth] Cf. Luke ii. 2, where the Greek is exactly the same as that of Theodotion's rendering here (тò dóyμa ¿¿ñλ0€). that the wise men, &c.] and the wise men were to be slain (R.V.). See Kautzsch, Gramm. § 76. 3.
fellows] companions (R.V.), as v. 17.
So v. 18.
14. answered with counsel and discretion] lit. returned counsel and discretion (or tact): lit. taste, and so figuratively of the faculty which discriminates and selects what is suitable for a given occasion. Cf. I Sam. xxv. 33, And blessed be thy discretion' (R.V. marg.), of the tact displayed by Abigail in averting David's vengeance from Nabal; Job xii. 20, and taketh away the discretion of the elders;' Prov. xxvi. 16 (the same phrase as here), 'than seven men answering with discretion' (lit. returning discretion).
Arioch] The name, in Gen. xiv. 1, of an ancient king of Ellasar (Larsa, in S. Babylonia); and, no doubt, borrowed thence, both here and in Judith i. 6 (where it is the name of a 'king of the Elymaeans '). "The name was Sumerian and not used at that period [Nebuchadnezzar's] of Babylonian history" (Sayce, in Hastings' Dict. of the Bible, s.v.).
captain of the king's guard] 'Captain of the guard' is the same expression which occurs in 2 Ki. xxv. 8 ff., Jer. xxxix. 9 ff., of an officer of Nebuchadnezzar, and (with sar for rab) in Gen. (xxxvii. 36, xxxix. 1, al.) of an officer of Pharaoh. It is lit. captain (or superintendent, chief) of the slaughterers' (viz. of animals [not executioners]): the royal butchers came in some way to form the royal body-guard (cf. W. R. Smith, OTFC.2, p. 262 f.). The use of the same term in reference to two such different countries as Egypt and Babylon, shews that, though
the wise men of Babylon: he answered and said to Arioch 15 the king's captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel. Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would 16 give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation. Then Daniel went to his house, and made the 17 thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions that they would desire mercies of the God of 18 heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night 19 vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel 20 answered and said,
it happens only to be applied to foreigners, it was really a native Hebrew title.
15. so hasty] harsh (Bevan). R.V. urgent, as A.V. itself has in iii. 22. This is not, however, strong enough: in Syriac and the Targums the word and its cognates express the idea of bold, shameless, insolent. Cf. Theod. here, avaidńs (LXX. πiкpŵs).
16. give him time] or (R.V.) appoint him a time.
and that he would shew] that he might (R.V. marg.) declare. Daniel only asked for time; and such a request would be the more readily granted, as Nebuchadnezzar had already (i. 20) been favourably impressed by his superior skill.
17-19. In answer to the supplication of Daniel and his three friends, the secret of Nebuchadnezzar's dream is revealed to him in a dream.
18. that they would] 'that they might' would be clearer, as it would include more easily a reference to Daniel (see v. 23 'me').
mercies] compassion, as the corresponding Heb. word is rendered in Lam. iii. 22, Zech. vii. 9 in A.V., and in Dan. i. 9 in R. V.
the God of heaven] So vv. 19, 37, 44. A favourite expression among the post-exilic Jews1: see Ezr. i. 2 (=2 Chr. xxxvi. 23), v. 11, 12, vi. 9, 10, vii. 12, 21, 23, Neh. i. 4, 5, ii. 4, 20, Jon. i. 9, Ps. cxxxvi. 26 (?): also Enoch xiii. 6, Tob. x. 11, Judith v. 8, vi. 19, xi. 17, Rev. xi. 13, xvi. 11.
fellows] companions (R.V.), as v. 17.
19. in a vision of the night] For the expression, comp. Is. xxix. 7 (like a dream, a vision of the night'), Job iv. 13, vii. 14, xx. 8, xxxiii. 15, Gen. xlvi. 2.
20-23. Daniel's thanksgiving for the great mercy vouchsafed to
20. answered] In the sense of commencing to speak: so iii. 9, 14,
1 In Gen. xxiv. 7 it is probable that 'and earth' (so LXX) has accidentally fallen out: see v. 3.
Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever:
And he changeth the times and the seasons:
And knowledge to them that know understanding:
And the light dwelleth with him.
I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers,
And hast made known unto me now what we desired of
For thou hast now made known unto us the king's
19, 24, al.; and άπoêpɩßels elπe in the N.T., Matt. xi. 25, xvii. 4, xxviii. 5, al. cf. Dalman, Die Worte Jesu (1898), p. 19.
Blessed, &c.] Cf. Ps. cxiii. 2; also Job i. 21.
for ever and ever] from eternity and to eternity, as Ps. xli. 13, cvi. 48, cf. Neh. ix. 5; also (without the art. in the Heb.) Jer. vii. 7, Ps. xc. 2, ciii. 17, al.
wisdom, &c.] Job xii. 13 'With him are wisdom and might.'
21. the times and the seasons] more exactly seasons and times; cf. vii. 12; Acts i. 7; 1 Thess. v. I. The meaning is, History does not move with the regularity of a clock: the order of things established at a given time is not necessarily permanent; it frequently happens that kings are overthrown and a new régime is established.
he giveth wisdom, &c.] The doxology now assumes special reference to Daniel's own case. As Joseph ascribed his skill in interpreting dreams to God (Gen. xl. 8, xli. 16), so Daniel acknowledges that He is the source of wisdom to those who possess it.
know understanding] Cf. Prov. iv. I.
22. He revealeth, &c.] Cf. Job xii. 22, 'Who revealeth deep things out of darkness.'
light] physical light (cf. 1 Tim. vi. 16), but suggesting and implying fulness of intellectual light; cf. 1 John i. 7 (of spiritual light).
23. Thee, O God of my fathers, do I thank and praise] God of my fathers,' i.e., the same as of old, unchanged among the changes of human generations, and still able to help and defend His servants. Cf. God of thy (Israel's) fathers,' Deut. i. 21, vi. 3, xii. 1, al.
wisdom and might] a share of His own attributes (v. 20): 'might,' however. rather in the special sense of moral strength, enabling Daniel, for instance, to remain firm in his religion (i. 8).
24-30. Daniel, brought by Arioch into Nebuchadnezzar's presence, professes his readiness to declare and interpret to him his dream.
'Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king 24 had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon bring me in before the king, and I will shew unto the king the interpretation. Then Arioch brought in Daniel 25 before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation. The king answered and 26 said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof? Daniel answered in the presence 27 of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologians, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; but there is a God in 28 heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the
24. ordained] i.e. appointed (R. V.; cf. v. 49, iii. 12), though (in the general application which the word has here) the meaning is now obsolete: see I Chr. xvii. 9 (R.V. appoint); Is. xxx. 33; l's. cxxxii. 17. shew] declare.
25. captives] lit. children of the captivity (or, better1, of the exile), as A.V. itself renders in v. 13, vi. 13; Ezr. vi. 16: cf. Ezr. iv. 1, vi. 19, 20, viii. 35, x. 7, 16.
27. in the presence of] before (R.V.), as v. 9.
demanded] simply asked, which is all that demand' formerly expressed. Like Fr. demander, to ask, simply; not as now in the stronger sense of "to ask with authority, or as a right," (W. A. Wright, Bible Word-book, s.v.). So Ex. v. 14; 2 Sam. xi. 7; Job xxxviii. 3. 'Demand' in the modern sense would suit these passages; but the Hebrew word used is the one that ordinarily means 'ask.'
can neither wise men, enchanters (v. 2), magicians, nor determiners (of fates) declare unto the king] The terms are all indefinite in the original. Determiners' (also iv. 4, v. 7, 11), viz. of future destinies, whether by observation of the heavens (Is. xlvii. 13), or by other means. The Babylonians were famed for their astrology, and in classical times the idea of astrologer was that which was almost entirely associated with the term 'Chaldaean' (cf. above, p. 13). The verb (strictly, to cut), in the general sense of decide, decree, occurs in the Targums and in Syriac, and once also in the Aramaizing idiom of Job (xxii. 28); cf. the cognate subst., Dan. iv. 14, 21. In this particular application, however, it is at present known only in the Biblical Aramaic.
28. But, though human skill is unable to satisfy the king, there is a God in heaven, the revealer of secrets, who has in reality by means of this dream disclosed to him the future. Cf. Gen. xli. 28. and maketh known] and he hath made known.
1 See on Am. i. 5, 6, in the Cambridge Bible.