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set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured 15 till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth 16 may be changed. Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.
'with himself' is incorrect. The expression is the Aram. equivalent of the Heb. phrase found in Jonah iv. 1; Neh. ii. 10, xiii. 8.
laboured] rather, continued striving; Theod. ywvio ato, Pesh. . The idea expressed by the word is that of struggling. to deliver him (second time)] to rescue him (R.V.: so v. 27 A.V.); a different word from the one rendered 'deliver' just before.
15. assembled] came thronging or tumultuously, as v. 6.
Know, O king, &c.] The courtiers, in their violence against Daniel, address Darius, as in v. 12, abruptly and peremptorily, without any respectful words of introduction (v. 6).
16. Now the king spake, &c.] The king answered, &c. The asyndetic construction is characteristic of the Aramaic portion of the book: iii. 19, 24, 26, v. 7, 13, vi. 20 (notice italics in A.V.), al.
he will deliver thee] Rather, may he (emph.) deliver thee! The king hopes, even against hope, that Daniel may by some means or other be spared his fate. Throughout the narrative Darius shews solicitude for Daniel (cf. vv. 14, 18-20). He does not willingly consign him to death: he has been entrapped by his courtiers; and in acting as he has done, he has merely, like Herod (Matth. xiv. 9), yielded to what he supposes to be the necessities of his position.
17. sealed it with his own signet] seals were in common use alike among the Assyrians, Babylonians (cf. Hdt. I. 195, 'every one has a seal'), and Persians; and numbers, especially from Babylonia and Assyria, have been brought to European museums during the past half century. The signet cylinder of Darius Hystaspis represented the king as engaged in a lion hunt (Rawlinson, Anc. Mon. III. 226, 227). Cf. (in Israel) 1 Ki. xxi. 8; and (in Persia) Est. iii. 12, viii. 8, 10.
that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel (R.V.)] i.e. that nothing might be done, either by the king, or by anyone else, to rescue Daniel. The word, meaning properly will, purpose, is here used in the weakened sense of thing, which it has in the Aramaic
Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night 18 fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him and his sleep went from him. Then the king arose 19 very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried with 20 a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel unto the king,
of Palmyra (Lidzbarski, Handbuch der Nordsemitischen Epigraphik (1898), p. 464, 1. 6, 'about these things'), as well as constantly in Syriac, as Ecclus. xxxii. 19 (Pesh.) Do not anything without counsel.'
18. instruments of musick] The meaning of the word thus rendered is unknown. The root in Aram. and Heb. means to thrust, overthrow (Ps. xxxvi. 12, cxviii. 13). In Arab. it means further to spread, spread out, and is also used specially in the sense compressit feminam. The ancient translators and commentators conjectured a meaning suited to the context. Theod. (édéoμara), Pesh., Jerome (cibi), render food; Rashi (12 cent.), a table (cf. A.V. marg.); Ibn Ezra, stringed instruments (supposing, improbably, to thrust to be used in the sense of to strike); Saad. (10 cent.), dancing-girls; many moderns (from the Arab. meaning of the root, mentioned above), concubines. But it is very doubtful whether it is legitimate to explain an Aram. word from a sense peculiar to Arabic, and there, moreover, only secondary and derived. By assuming a very small corruption in the text (117 for we should, however, obtain the ordinary Aram. word for concubines (v. 2, 3, 23): so Marti, Prince. But whatever the true meaning, or reading, of the word may be, the general sense of the verse remains the same: the king did not indulge in his usual diversions.
fled (R.V.) from him] lit. fled upon him: in accordance with the idiom explained on ii. I. For 'fled' cf. Gen. xxxi. 40; Est. vi. 1.
19. Then the king arose at dawn, as soon as it was light] lit. at dawn, in the brightness. The words used imply that day had fully broken. The first word ('dawn') stands in the Targ. for 'morning' in Is. lviii. 8; and the second ('brightness'), in its Heb. form, in Is. lxii. I.
in haste (iii. 24)] So anxious was he to learn how Daniel had fared. when he came] as he drew near.
with a lamentable voice] or, with a pained voice. The same expression (with an inappreciable difference of form) occurs in the Targ. (Ps.-Jon.) of Ex. xii. 31, and in that of Est. iv. I.
and the king, &c.] the king answered and said.
the living God] The same emphatic and significant title, found in Deut. v. 26; Josh. iii. 10; 1 Sam. xvii. 26, 36; 2 Ki. xix. Jer. x. 10, xxiii. 36; Hos. i. 10; Ps. xlii. 2, lxxxiv. 2.
22 O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and 23 also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found 24 upon him, because he believed in his God. And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.
21. O king, live for ever] cf. v. 6.
22. sent his angel] cf. iii. 28.
shut &c.] cf. Heb. xi. 33 (ëøpağav; Theod. here évéøpažev). before thee] see on v. 10 end, and ii. 9; and cf. Luke xv.18, 21. 23. for him] to be omitted (like with himself' in v. 14). because he believed—or (R. V.) trusted-in his God] cf. Heb. xi. 33. 24. The king's vengeance on the men who had maliciously accused Daniel.
accused] see on iii. 8.
their children, and their wives] according to the rough justice-or, to our minds, injustice of antiquity: cf. Josh. vii. 24-25; 2 Sam. xxi. 5-9; Est. ix. 13, 14; Hdt. iii. 119. Cf. Mozley's Ruling Ideas in Early Ages, p. 87 ff., in explanation of the principle involved.
had the mastery of them] or fell upon them-a sense which the Aram. phrase, properly meaning to rule over, has in the Targums (e.g. Judg. xv. 12; 2 Sam. i. 15).
in pieces] These words should be followed by a comma (as in R.V.), the words or ever &c., having reference to both the preceding clauses (the order in the Aram. is 'and they reached not the bottom of the pit, ere the lions' &c.).
or ever] i.e. before; the expression being a pleonastic, reduplicated form of ere (A.S. ær, Germ. eher), frequent in Old English. So Prov. viii. 23 (A.V., R.V.), Ps. liii. 8 (P.B.V.), xc. 2 (P.B.V., A.V., R.V.), Cant. vi. 12 (A.V., R.V.), Acts xxiii. 15 (A. V., R.V.); Is. lxv. 24, in Coverdale's version, 'Or ever they call, I shal answere them'; and several times in Shakespeare. Mr Wright (Bible Word-Book, s.v.) quotes from Latimer's Sermons, 'The great man was gone forth about such affairs as behoved him, or [=ere] I came.'
25-27. The edict of Darius, enjoining all his subjects to dread and fear the God of Daniel. Cf. the decree of Nebuchadnezzar in iii. 29, forbidding men anywhere to speak against Him; and his proclamation in iv. 1-3, 37, declaring to mankind His doings. The thought and phraseology of the edict are strongly Jewish.
Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and 25 languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, That in every dominion of 26 my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and 27 rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of 28 Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
unto all the peoples,...unto you] verbally identical with iv. I. 26. .I make a decree] almost exactly as iii. 29. in every dominion] in all the dominion &c.
tremble and fear before] Cf. v. 19 (of the dread felt towards Nebuchadnezzar).
stedfast] or subsistent, enduring,—a common epithet of God in the Targums, and often representing the Heb. 'living,' as in the passages quoted on v. 201. The combination, 'living and enduring' (2) '), is also frequent in post-Biblical Jewish literature.
and his kingdom &c.] Cf. ii. 44, iv. 3, 34b; also vii. 14, 27.
27. He delivereth and rescueth] And not Darius (v. 14): cf. iii. 28, 29.
signs and wonders] iv. 2, 3.
from the power] Aram. from the hand, as in Heb., Ps. xxii. 20 (21), xlix. 15 (16), &c.
28. After this signal deliverance Daniel's gainsayers were silenced; and prosperity attended him through the rest of the reign of Darius, as well as in that of his successor Cyrus.
The second part of the book, describing the four visions seen by Daniel in the reigns of Belshazzar (ch. vii., viii.), Darius the Mede (ch. ix.), and Cyrus (ch. x.-xii.).
CHAP. VII. THE VISION OF THE FOUR BEASTS.
A vision, seen by Daniel in a dream, in the first year of Belshazzar. The vision was of four beasts emerging from the agitated sea, a lion with eagle's wings, a bear, a leopard with four wings and four heads, and a fourth beast, with powerful iron teeth, destroying all things, and with ten horns, among which another 'little horn' sprang up, 'speaking proud things,' before which three of the other horns were rooted up (vv. I-8). Hereupon a celestial assize is held: the Almighty appears, seated on a throne of flame, and surrounded by myriads of attendants;
1 Also regularly in the phrases, ‘(As) I live,' ‘(As) Jehovah liveth,' 1 Sam. xiv. 39; Ez. v. II, &c.
7 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great
the beast whose horn spake proud things is slain; and a figure in human form comes with the clouds of heaven into the presence of the Divine Judge, and receives from Him a universal and never-ending dominion (vv. 9-14). After this, the vision is interpreted to Daniel: the four beasts are explained to signify four kingdoms; and after the destruction of the fourth, the 'people of the saints of the Most High' will receive the dominion of the entire earth (vv. 15-28).
The vision is parallel to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar in ch. ii.; and the kingdoms symbolized by the four beasts are generally allowed to be the same as those symbolized by the four parts of the image which Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream. The animal symbolism of the vision is an extension of that found in some of the later prophets, as Ezek. xvii. 3, xix. 1-9, xxix. 3—5, xxxii. 2— -6; Is. xxvii. I.
1. In the first year of Belshazzar] The visions (c. 7—12) are not a continuation of the narratives (c. 1-6), but form a series by themselves: the author accordingly no longer adheres to the chronological order which he has hitherto followed, but goes back to a date anterior to that of ch. v. (see v. 30). In view of what was said at the beginning of ch. v. it is, of course, impossible to estimate the 'first year' of Belshazzar in years B.C.
had] lit. saw.
visions of his head upon his bed] The same phrase in ii. 28.
then he wrote the dream] With reference to the sequel (v. 2 ff.), in which Daniel speaks in the first person, and which in these words is represented as having been committed to writing by Daniel himself. The first person (with the exception of x. 1) continues from v. 2 to the end of the book.
the sum of words (or things)] contained in the revelation, i.e. its essential import.
2. Daniel answered and said, I saw] properly, I was seeing (or beholding), as iv. 10, 13: so vv. 4, 6, 7, 9, 11 (twice), 13, 21. LXX. and Theod. rightly render by e0ewpovv.
the four winds of the heaven] The same expression, viii. 8, xi. 4; Zech. ii. 6, vi. 5; 2 Esdr. xiii. 5.
strove upon] were breaking forth (see Jud. xx. 33 Heb.) on to, creating a great disturbance of the waters. A.V. strove is to be explained from the sense which the word has in the Targums. The root means to break or burst forth, of water (as Job xxxviii. 8); but in the Targums it is common, in the conjug. here used, in the sense of to wage war, lit. to cause war to break forth, as Deut. xx. 4, and even with 'war' omitted, Josh. xxiii. 3 al.; hence strove. However, the prep. which here follows does not mean upon, but to.
the great sea] a name of the Mediterranean Sea, Josh. i. 4, ix. 1 al.