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gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in 6 pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill. But if ye shew the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore 7 shew me the dream, and the interpretation thereof. They
answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the 8 dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it. The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain
(proceeding) from me—is sure. The king means that the threat which follows is fully resolved upon by him. Āzda is a Persian word, meaning sure, certain (see Schrader, KAT.", p. 617); the rendering 'gone' is philologically indefensible. if ye will not make known] if ye make not known (R.V.).
• Will not,' in this sentence would (in modern English) mean are not willing to,' which is not in the Aramaic at all.
cut in pieces] more exactly, dismembered ; lit. made into (separate) limbs ; so iii. 29 (cf. 2 Macc. i. 16 uén Toño avtes). The word for • limb' (haddām, --common in Syriac, but in the O.T. found only here and iii. 29) is Persian (Zend hañdāma, Mod. Pers. andān). The violence and peremptoriness of the threatened punishment is in accordance with what might be expected at the hands of an Eastern despot : the Assyrians and Persians, especially, were notorious for the barbarity of their punishments.
be made a dunghill] Cf. iii. 29 and Ezra vi. 11 (where Darius decrees the same punishment for any one altering the terms of his edict).
6. shew (twice)] declare. So vv. 7, 9, 10, 11, 16, 24, 27, iv. 2, v. 7, 12, 15.
rewards] A rare word, probably of Persian origin (according to Andreas, in the Glossary in Marti's Gramm. der Bibl.-Aram. Sprache, properly, tribute, present), found otherwise only in v. 17, where it stands in a similar context.
7–12. The wise men profess their willingness to interpret the king's dream : but protest that his demand that they should tell him what his dream was is an extravagant one.
Nebuchadnezzar, however, adheres to his original demand : and as they are unable to comply with it, commands them to be put to death.
7. again] the second time (R.V.).
8. of certainty) We should say now, 'of a certainty.' Murray quotes from North's Plutarch (1580), 'It is of certainty that her proper name was Nicostrata.'
would gain time (R.V.)] lit. are buying the time. Their repeated request to the king to tell them his dream is proof to him that they have no power to reveal secrets, and that they could not therefore interpret his dream, even though he were to describe it to them : hence he charges them with buying the time, i.e. with endeavouring to defer But if ,
the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. 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- zu 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. dăd (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, II, 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.
il. rare) difficult : properly heavy. The word has the same sense sometimes in Syriac, as Ex. xviii. 18, in the Peshittā.
requireth] asketh (as v. 10), which indeed is all that the translators of 1011 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. l. 35 (of Babylon), and several times in the sequel (cf. p. 15). Similarly wisdom, Is. 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 (TD dó qua èširoe).
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. 1 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. I, 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, OTYC., 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 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 com-' panions: 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
This is not, however, strong enough : in Syriac and the Tar. gums the word and its cognates express the idea of bold, shameless, insolent. Cf. Theod. here, åvaidins (LXX. tripcês).
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 Jews? : see Ezr. i. 2 (=2 Chr. xxxvi. 23), v. II, 12, vi. 9, 10, vii. 12, 21, 23, Neh. i. 4, 5, ii. 4, 20, Jon. i. 9, Ps. cxxxvi. 26 (58): 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 him.
20. answered] In the sense of commencing to speak : so iii. 9, 14,
" 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:
19, 24, al.; and átokpoels elme 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. 2 í. 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. 1. 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
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).
•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.