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self an ox, and live in the open fields; nor would he recover, and be restored to his kingdom, till he was ready to acknowledge that the Most High was supreme over the kingdoms of the earth, and that he owed all his greatness to Him. At the end of twelve months, as the king was contemplating from the roof of his palace the city which he had built, Daniel's prediction was suddenly verified, and Nebuchadnezzar remained bereft of his reason for seven years. At the end of that time his reason returned to him; and in gratitude for his recovery, and his restoration to his kingdom, he issued a proclamation, addressed to all the world, in which he publicly acknowledged God's power and goodness towards him.
The scene of ch. v. is Belshazzar's palace, on the eve of Cyrus' conquest of Babylon (B.C. 538), 23 years after the end of Nebuchadnezzar's reign (B.C. 561), when Daniel, supposing him to have been 16 or 17 at the time of his captivity (B.C. 605), would be 83 or 84 years old. Belshazzar and his lords are at a feast, impiously drinking their wine out of the golden vessels which had once belonged to the Temple of Jehovah in Jerusalem. Suddenly there appears on the white plaister of the wall, almost directly above where the king is sitting, the palm of a hand, with fingers writing on the wall. The 'wise men,' being summoned to interpret what is written, are unable to do so. At the suggestion of the queen-mother, Daniel is called. He reads the king a lesson on his impiety and pride, and on his neglect to take warning by the example of Nebuchadnezzar; and having done this, interprets the writing. Its import is that Belshazzar is no more worthy to enjoy his kingdom: its days are numbered, and it is about to be given to the Medes and Persians. Daniel thereupon receives from Belshazzar the rewards which he had promised to any one who should interpret the writing; and is made one of the three chief Ministers in his kingdom. In the same night Belshazzar is slain, and 'Darius the Mede' 'receives' the kingdom.
Darius the Mede appointed over his kingdom 120 satraps, with three Presidents at their head, to whom they were to be accountable. One of these presidents was Daniel, whom, as he
distinguished himself remarkably in his office, Darius contemplated making his chief minister. Upon this, the satraps, and other presidents, were filled with envy, and hoping to ruin him, sought to convict him of some act of disloyalty. They accordingly induced Darius to issue an interdict, forbidding any one, under penalty of being cast into a den of lions, to ask a petition of either God or man, except the king, for 30 days. The aged Daniel nevertheless continued, as before, to pray at his open window towards Jerusalem. The king, upon learning that Daniel had thus incurred the penalty, was greatly vexed; but feeling nevertheless that the law must be obeyed, reluctantly gave directions for him to be cast into the den of lions. Next morning, hastening to the spot, he is over-joyed to find him uninjured; and publishes a decree, enjoining men, in all parts of his dominion, to honour and revere the God of Daniel, who had given such wonderful evidence of His power (ch. vi.).
The second, or 'apocalyptic,' part of the book, describing Daniel's visions, now begins (ch. vii.—xii.).
In the first year of Darius the Mede, Daniel had a dream, in which he saw four beasts emerging from the 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: as Daniel was contemplating it, another 'little horn' sprang up among the ten horns, 'speaking proud things,' before which three of the other horns were rooted up. The scene then suddenly changed: the Almighty appeared, seated on a throne of flame, and surrounded by myriads of attendants; the books, recording the deeds of men, were opened, and the beast whose horn spake proud things was judged and slain. After this, a figure in human form, coming with the clouds of heaven, was ushered into the presence of the Judge, and received from Him a universal and never-ending dominion. The meaning of the vision was explained to Daniel by one of the angels that stood by: the four beasts represented four kingdoms,-in all probability, as in ch. ii., the Babylonian, Median, Persian, and Greek; the 'little horn' was a king (Antiochus Epiphanes), who would persecute, and seek to exter
minate, the holy people; but he would be judged, and have his power taken from him, before he had accomplished his purpose: the people of God would then receive a universal and neverending dominion (ch. vii.).
Chap. viii. describes a vision seen by Daniel, in the third year of Belshazzar,-in the view of the author, therefore, two years after the vision described in ch. vii.,—in the citadel of Shushan (Susa). A ram with two horns appeared, pushing towards the west, the north, and the south, until a he-goat, with a conspicuous horn between its eyes, emerging from the west attacked the ram, and broke its two horns. After this, the he-goat gained further successes; but ere long its horn was broken; and in place of it there rose up four other horns, looking towards the four quarters of the earth. Out of one of these there came forth a little horn which, waxing great towards the land of Judah, exalted itself against the host of heaven, and against its Prince (i.e. God), struck and hurled down to the earth many of the stars, desecrated the sanctuary, and interrupted the daily sacrifice for 2300 'evenings mornings.' The meaning of this vision was explained to Daniel by the angel Gabriel. The ram with two horns was the Medo-Persian empire; the he-goat was the empire of the Greeks, the conspicuous horn being its 'first king' (i.e. Alexander the Great); and the four horns which rose up after this had been broken, were the four kingdoms,—viz. those of Macedonia, Thrace, Syria, and Egypt,-into which, after Alexander's death, his empire was ultimately resolved. The little horn, which arose out of one of these, and magnified itself against the host of heaven and the sanctuary, represented a king who, though not named, is shewn by the description of his character and doings (vv. 23—25) to be Antiochus Epiphanes (B.C. 175-164).
Chap. ix. is assigned to the same year as chap. vii., viz. the first year of 'Darius the Mede.' In that year, Daniel, considering that the 70 years of desolation prophesied by Jeremiah for the Holy City were drawing to their close, made an earnest appeal to God on behalf of his people, confessing his nation's sin and the justice of the punishment which had overtaken it, and
entreating Him now to pardon Israel's transgression, and no longer to defer its promised restoration. In answer to his entreaty, Gabriel appears, and explains to Daniel that it would be not 70 years, but 70 weeks of years (i.e. 490 years), before Israel's transgression would be forgiven and its redemption would be complete; that though Jerusalem would indeed before this be rebuilt and re-inhabited, it would be in 'strait of times'; and that during the last 'week' of the 490 years great troubles would fall upon the city and the sanctuary, a heathen abomination would desecrate the Temple, and the regular sacrifices in it would be suspended for 'half of the week,' until the destined judgement overtook the persecutor.
The last section of the book (chaps. x.-xii.) describes a vision seen by Daniel in the third year of Cyrus by the Ḥiddekel (the Tigris), and the revelations respecting the future communicated to him in it by an angel. Daniel, grieving for his people's sin, and anxious about its future, had been fasting for 21 days, when he fell into a state of trance, in which he had a vision of a shining being standing before him, who told him that he had been sent in answer to his prayers, but that he had been prevented from reaching him before by the opposition of the 'prince,' or patron-angel, of Persia: with the help of Michael, the 'prince,' or patron-angel, of the Jews, he had at length been able to start on his mission, and he was now with Daniel for the purpose of giving him a revelation concerning the future of his nation (x. I-xi. 1). The contents of the revelation may be summarized briefly as follows. First, there would be four Persian kings, one of whom (Xerxes) would 'stir up all' in conflict with Greece; then would follow the empire of a 'warrior-king' (Alexander the Great), which, however, would soon be broken, and divided into four (Macedonia, under Cassander; Thrace, under Lysimachus; Syria and the East, under Seleucus; and Egypt, under Ptolemy); the leagues and conflicts, with varying fortunes, between the kings of the 'north' (Antioch) and of the 'south' (Egypt) during the following century and a half are next outlined (xi. 5—20); afterwards, in greater detail, is described the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes (B.C. 175-164),
including his conflicts with Egypt, his persecution of the Jews, and the doom which should suddenly cut short his career (xi. 21-45). The death of Antiochus would be followed by the resurrection (of Israelites), and the advent of the kingdom of God (xii. 1-3). The revelation is to be 'sealed up' by Daniel until the time of the end (xii. 4), i.e. the time of Antiochus' persecution (see on viii. 17); for it is intended for the encouragement of the Israelites suffering then for their faith. Daniel asks how long the period of trial is to continue. He is told in reply, with solemn emphasis, that it will last for 3 years (cf. vii. 25, viii. 14, ix. 27); there will be 1290 days from the time when the daily burnt-offering was interrupted, and the 'abomination that appalleth' (a small heathen altar, on the altar of burntoffering) set up; but 45 days more, or 1335 in all, before complete happiness will have been attained. Daniel himself is commanded meanwhile to depart, and rest (in the grave) till then.
The Book, as will be apparent from this outline of its contents, is very different from those of most of the canonical prophets, even from those which, like the books of Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, contain biographical particulars respecting their authors. It resembles most the Book of Jonah. The canonical prophets shew themselves immersed in the history and circumstances of their own time, in the political, moral, and spiritual condition of their nation, in its relations to its neighbours, especially to the great powers of Assyria, Egypt, or Babylon, and in its prospects in the immediate future,—the discourses, relating primarily and in the main to these various subjects, ever and again dissolving into visions of the future ideal glories of the people of God. In the Book of Daniel, on the contrary, hardly any interest is shewn in the condition or prospects of Israel in the age of Daniel himself: the narratives (ch. i.—vi.) have an essentially didactic import, their object being to shew how religious constancy and fortitude are, in various ways, rewarded by God, and how one heathen monarch after another is obliged to own the power of Daniel's God, while Daniel himself and his companions are not only delivered from peril or death, but rise