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height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the
to some deity would be involved in the recital, though no instance is at present known of divine honours being paid to such statues.
threescore cubits, &c.] The image was thus some 90 feet high, and 9 broad. The disproportion of height and breadth-in the human figure the proportion is commonly 5-6 to 1-has not been satisfactorily explained. The dimensions themselves, also, are greater than are probable: but the 'India House Inscription,' by its descriptions of the decorations of temples, testifies to the amount of gold that was at Nebuchadnezzar's disposal; and Oriental monarchs have always prided themselves on the immense quantities of the precious metals in their possession.
set it up] "to set up an image' (the same words in the Aram.) is the usual phrase in the heathen inscriptions of Palmyra and the Ḥaurān” (Bevan); see e.g. de Vogué, Syrie Centrale (1868), Nos. 4, 5, 7, 10, 11. plain] properly a broad cleft,' or level (Is. xl. 4 end) plain, between mountains (see on Am. i. 5).
Dura] An inscription cited by Friedrich Delitzsch (Paradies, p. 216) mentions in Babylonia three places called Dûru. According to Oppert (Expéd. en Mésopotamie, i. 238 f.; cf. the chart of the environs of Babylon in Smith, DB., s.v. BABEL), there is a small river called the Dura, flowing into the Euphrates from the S., 6 or 7 miles below Babylon; and near this river, about 12 miles S.S.E. of Hillah, there are a number of mounds called the Tolul (or Mounds of) Dūra. One of these, called el-Mokhaṭṭat, consists of a huge rectangular brick structure, some 45 ft. square and 20 ft. high, which may, in Oppert's opinion, have formed once the pedestal of a colossal image.
2. princes] satraps, Aram. 'achashdarpan,-both this and the Gk. ἐξατράπης, σατράπης, being corruptions of the Old Persian kshatrapawan, lit. protector of the realm,' but denoting by usage (cf. on vi. 1) the chief ruler of a province. The term, as is well known, is a standing Persian one: in the O.T., it recurs vv. 3, 27, vi. 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 (A.V. princes); and Ezr. viii. 36, Est. iii. 12, viii. 9, ix. 3 (A.V. lieutenants); R.V. always satraps. The use of the word here is an anachronism: both the name and the office were Persian, not Babylonian.
governors] praefects. The word (sgan) explained on ii. 48.
captains] governors (R.V.), Aram. pechah, a term also (like segan) of Assyrian origin, often used in Assyrian of the governor of a conquered province. It found its way into Hebrew, and is used in the O.T. both of an Assyrian officer (Is. xxxvi. 9=2 Ki. xviii. 24: A.V., R.V. captain), of Babylonian officers (Jer. li. 57; Ez. xxiii. 6, 12, 23: A.V. captains, R. V. governors), and especially, in post-exilic writings, of the governor of a Persian province (Hag. i. 1, ii. 2; Mal. i. 8; Ezr. v. 3, 6; Neh. ii. 7, 9, and elsewhere); as well as once or twice more generally (1 Ki. xx. 24; Jer. li. 23, 28). In Dan. it recurs vv. 3, 27, vi. 7.
judges, the treasurers, the counsellers, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Then the princes, the governors and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellers, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set
· judges] So v. 3. Aram. 'adargāzar, in all probability the old Pers. andar-zaghar, later Pers. endarzgar, 'counsel-giver,' a title which was still in use under the Sassanian kings (Nöldeke, Tabari, p. 462). R.V. marg. 'chief soothsayers' implies a very improbable etymology.
treasurers] So v. 3: Aram. gedabar. An uncertain word. It may be a textual corruption, or a faulty pronunciation, of gizbar, 'treasurer' (Pehlevi ganzavar, Pers. ganjvar), which is found in Ezr. i. 8, vii. 21; it may have arisen by dittography from the following dethabar1; it may be an error for haddabar (in the plur., 7 for '), the word which occurs in zv. 24, 27, iv. 36, vi. 7 (see on v. 24).
counsellers] justices (so v. 3): Aram. dethabar, from the Old Pers. databara, Pehlevi dātōbar, Modern Pers. dawar, properly 'law-bearer,' from dāt, 'law,' and bar, an affix meaning 'bearer.' Cf. the βασιλήϊοι dikaσral of Hdt. iii. 14, 31, v. 25, vii. 194. This word has been found by Hilprecht (frequently) in the commercial inscriptions belonging to the reigns of Artaxerxes I. and Darius II. (B.C. 465-425, 424-405), excavated recently at Nippur by the expedition organized by the American University of Pennsylvania.
sheriffs] Aram. tiphtayê; only found besides in v. 3, and of very uncertain meaning. Bevan thinks it may be the mutilated form of some Persian title ending in pat, 'chief'; and so Behrmann compares the Sanskr. adhipati, which would correspond to an Old Pers. adipati, 'over-chief': while Andreas2 proposes to read for Л, i.e. denpetayê, 'chiefs of religion,' i.e. priestly dignitaries. Lawyers (R.V. marg.) depends upon an improbable connexion with the Arab. 'afta, to notify a decision of the law (whence Mufti, a jurisconsult).
and all the rulers of the provinces] conceived apparently as subordinate to the 'satraps,' and so as forming the class in which Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were included (ii. 49). It has often been asked, where was Daniel? Possibly he is to be regarded as not included in the classes of officials enumerated, on account of his exceptional position at the court (ii. 49): but in point of fact the narrative seems to be written without reference to Daniel; so that more probably the question is one which the author did not deem it necessary to answer. The names of officials are the same as in v. 2.
1 It is some support to this view that whereas the Aramaic text has in both v. 2 and v. 3 eight names of officials, the Sept. and Theod. have each only seven: see Lagarde's lucid exposition of the facts in Agathangelus, p. 157.
2 In the glossary in Marti's Gramm. der Bibl.-Aram. Sprache, p. 89.
4 up. Then a herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, 5 O people, nations, and languages, that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery,
4. And the herald cried aloud] lit. with might: so iv. 14, v. 7; and in Heb. (though the substantive is a different one) Jonah iii. 8.
peoples, nations, and languages] the same pleonastic combination, vv. 7, 29, iv. 1, v. 19, vi. 25, vii. 14; cf. also Is. lxvi. 18. Similarly Rev. v. 9, vii. 9, x. 11, xi. 9, xiii. 7, xiv. 6, xvii. 16. Here the combination is no doubt used under the idea that strangers from different countries ruled by Nebuchadnezzar, as well as from other parts (such as were always to be found in Babylon: Is. xiii. 146, xlvii. 15; Jer. 1. 16), would be present on such an occasion.
peoples] i.e. nations, a sense not now expressed by the English 'people.' See the remarks on this word in the Preface to the Revised Version of the O.T.
5. cornet] lit. horn: so vv. 7, 10, 15; elsewhere in this sense only in the 'ram's horn,' Jos. vi. 5. The usual Hebrew name for this (or some similar) instrument is shōphār. The word used here (karnā) is, however, common in the same sense in Syriac.
flute] pipe, Aram. mashroķîtha (from the root sherak, to hiss, Heb. P, Is. v. 26), not the word usually rendered 'flute,' and found besides (in the O. T.) only in vv. 7, 10, 15. It occurs, though very rarely (P. S. Col. 4339), in Syriac in the same sense.
harp] or lyre, Aram. kitharos, i.e. the Greek xl0apis: so vv. 7, 10, 15. sackbut] trigon (vv. 7, 10, 15), Aram. sabbeka, whence no doubt the Gk. σaußúкn was derived, which was a small triangular instrument, of the nature of a harp, but possessing only four strings (see Athen. IV. p. 175, d, e, where it is said to be a Syrian invention; XIV. p. 633 f.; and the other passages cited by Gesenius in his Thesaurus, p. 935). Sambucistriae and psaltriae (see the next word) are mentioned by Livy (xxxix. 6) as a luxurious accompaniment at banquets, introduced into Rome from the East in 187-B.C. (The mediaeval 'sackbut,'-Span. sacabuche, a sackbut, and also a tube used as a pump: from sacar, to draw out, and bucha, a box,—meaning properly a tube that can be drawn out at will, was something quite different, viz. " a bass trumpet with a slide like the modern trombone," Chappell, Music of the most Ancient Nations, i. 35, as quoted in Wright's Bible Word-Book, s.v.)
psaltery] Aram. psanțērīn, i.e. Yaλτýpιov: so vv. 7, 10, 15. The Greek yaλrpov, and the Latin psalterium, was a stringed instrument, of triangular shape, like an inverted ▲ : it differed from the cithara (as Augustine repeatedly states) in having the sounding-board above the strings, which were played with a plectrum and struck downwards1. The number of strings in the ancient psaltery appears to have varied. The 'psaltery' is often mentioned in old English writers: in Chaucer it appears in the form 'sawtrie,' or 'sauterie,' as Manciple's Tale, 17,200,
1 Isid. Etym. iii. 22. 7; Cassiod. Praef. in Psalm. c. iv; Augustine on Ps. lvi. (iv. 539 a-b, ed. Bened.), and elsewhere (see the Index); also Vergil, Ciris 177 'Non arguta sonant tenui psalteria chorda.'
dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: and whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same 6 hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
"Bothe harp and lute, gitern and sauterie"; and Shakespeare, for instance, speaks of "the trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries, and fifes" (Coriol. v. 4. 53). The name, in the form santir, passed also into Arabic; and the instrument, under this name, is mentioned in the Arabian Nights, and is in use also in modern Egypt1.
dulcimer] bagpipe: Aram. sumpōnyāh, i.e. the Greek ovμowvla. Zuupwvla, which in Plato and Aristotle has the sense of harmony or concord, came in later Greek to denote a bagpipe, an instrument consisting essentially of a combination of pipes, supplied with wind from a bladder blown by the mouth, and called 'symphonia,' on account of the combination of sounds produced by it, one pipe (called the 'chaunter') producing the melody, and three others the fixed accompaniments, or 'drones.' It is remarkable that Polybius employs the same word of the music used, on festive occasions, by Antiochus Epiphanes. Sumpōnyāh is found, in the same sense, in the Mishna3; and it passed likewise into Latin, and hence into several of the Romance languages, as Ital. zampogna; Old Fr. Chyfonie, Chiffonie (v. Ducange). In Syriac, it appears in the form DY, which also denotes a kind of flute (Payne Smith, col. 3430). (The dulcimer was an entirely different kind of instrument, consisting of a trapèze-shaped frame, with a number of strings stretched across it, which was laid horizontally on a table, and played by a small hammer, held in the hand,- -a rudimentary form of the modern pianoforte.)
worship] lit. bow down to (ii. 46). So regularly.
6. the same hour] Cf. v. 15, iv. 33, v. 5 (also 'hour' alone, iv. 16). The expression is common in Syriac, as in the Pesh. of Mt. viii. 3, xxvii. 48; Mk. i. 42; Acts xi. 11, 16; comp. (in the Greek) Mt. viii. 13, X. 19, xviii. 1, Luke ii. 38, vii. 21, x. 21, and elsewhere. 'Hour' (sha'ah) does not occur in Biblical Hebrew; but it is common in
1 Dozy, Supplément aux Dict. Arabes, i. 694; Lane, Modern Egyptians, ii. 70. The LXX used aλrýplov (sometimes) for the Heb. nēbel and kinnōr. Elsewhere in A. V. or R. V. where 'psaltery' occurs (as Ps. xxxiii. 2), it always represents nebel.
2 Polyb. xxvi. 10, as cited by Athen. v. 21, p. 193 d-e (and similarly x. 52, 439 a) Antiochus Epiphanes associated with very common boon companions-öre δὲ τῶν νεωτέρων αἴσθοιτό τινας συνευωχουμένους, οὐδεμίαν ἔμφασιν ποιήσας παρῆν ἐπικωμάζων μετὰ κεραμίου (or κερατίου) καὶ συμφωνίας, ὥστε τοὺς πολλοὺς διὰ τὸ παράδοξον͵ ἀνισταμένους φεύγειν; and xxxi. 4 (Athen. x. 53, p. 439 d) καὶ τῆς συμφωνίας προκαλουμένης ὁ βασιλεὺς ἀναπηδήσας ὠρχεῖτο καὶ προσέπαιζε τοῖς μíμois wσтe návτas aioɣúveolai. (Kepáμiov is a jar [of wine?]; Diod. Sic. xxix. 32 has κερατίου, lit. a little horn [κέρας denoted the Phrygian ftute]. Συμφωνία means very probably not a band, but-as in Dan., and in the passages cited in the next note but one-a musical instrument.)
3 Levy, NHWB. iii. 492a (Kelim xi. 6, xvi. 8); cf. 513.
As Pliny, H. N. viii. 64 (=the avaòs of Athen. xii. 19, p. 520 c), ix. 24; Prudentius, Symm. ii. 527 'signum symphonia belli Aegyptis dederat, clangebat buccina contra'; Fortunatus, Vit. Martin. iv. 48, 'Donec plena suo cecinit symphonia flatu.'
7 Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
8 Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and 9 accused the Jews. They spake and said to the king Nebu10 chadnezzar, O king, live for ever. Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image: and whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs
Aramaic (Targums and Syriac) and later Hebrew. Originally it denoted any small interval of time, and was only gradually fixed definitely to what we call an 'hour.'
shall be cast, &c.] Cruel punishments were in vogue among both the Assyrians and the Babylonians. In Jer. xxix. 12 allusion is made to two Jews, Zedekiah and Ahab, whom (for some reason not stated) 'the king of Babylon roasted in the fire.' (The statement, sometimes made, that Asshurbanipal's rebel brother, Shamash-shum-ukin, was punished in this manner, appears to rest on a misconception: see KB. ii. 191 [Annals iv. 50 f.], and Maspero, Passing of the Empires, p. 422.) 7. sackbut] trigon.
8-18. The accusation brought against the three Jewish youths, and their answer to the king.
8. certain Chaldeans] probably, though not here necessarily, the learned class among the Babylonians (as i. 4, ii. 2 &c.). See p. 12 ff.
accused] The figure in the original is a peculiar one, lit. ‘ate the (torn) pieces of the Jews.' The expression has commonly in Aramaic the sense of falsely accuse, or slander, as Ps. xv. 3 in the Targ., and in Syriac (e.g. Luke xvi. 1 for diaßáλλew; and 'ākhēl ḥarzā for d diáßoλos, the false accuser, or 'devil,' Mt. iv. 1, and regularly): here and vi. 24 it is used at least in the sense of accuse maliciously.
9. spake] answered (R. V.): see on ii. 20.
the king Nebuchadnezzar] Nebuchadnezzar the king,--the regular order in Aramaic (vv. 1, 2, 5, 7 &c.), and often in late Hebrew (as Hag. i. 1, 15; Neh. ii. 1, v. 14). In early Hebrew the order is almost uniformly 'the king David,' 'the king Solomon,' &c.
O king, live for ever] Cf. on ii. 4.
sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer] trigon, psaltery, and bagpipe. 12. whom thou hast set, &c.] See ii. 49. The 'Chaldeans' were, no doubt, jealous of the Jewish captives being promoted to high positions; and accordingly took advantage of their refusal to conform to Nebu