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down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him.

24 This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king:

25 That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

26 And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree-roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule.

27 Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.

28 All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.

29 At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.

30 The king spake and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the

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might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?

31 While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; the kingdom is departed from thee.

32 And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High rulethin the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws.

34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation.

35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand; or say unto him, What doest thou?

36 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and bright

NOTES-Chap. IV. Con.

Ver. 25. Eat grass.-The original term includes as well herbs for inan as grass for cattle. See Gen, ii. 5; Exod. x. 12, 15, &c.

Ver. 26. That the heavens do rule.-The heavens (or heaven) is here, by a common metonymy, put for God. See Luke xv. 18.

Ver. 27. A lengthening, &c.-See 1 Kings xxi. 39. Ver. 29. At the end of twelve months --By this deJay of his sentence, some have supposed that the king commenced the work of reformation recommended by the prophet, ver. 27. Bat soon growing weary, (as often is the case,) he began again to glory in himself, and thus brought down instant judgment.

He walked in--Marg. "upon." It is well known that all great houses in the East have flat and terraced roofs. See 2 Sam. xi. 2.

Ver. 30. Is not this great Babylon.-See Expos.

of Isa. xiii. also Note on Jer. li. 58.Which I Ambe built:-Though built ages before, it was greatly enbellished and improved, and perhaps in great part rebuilt, by Nebuchadnezzar. Bochart thinks it was as much indebted to him as Rome was to Julius Cæsar.

Ver. 33. His hair like eagles' feathers. – Being totally neglected, it not only grew long, but was prehably matted together, like feathers. This includes the beard.

Ver. 34. At the end of the days-that is, of the "seven times," or years, predicted ver. 25.

Ver. 36. I was established. It is probable this great king lived only a year after bis recovery. His death happened about the 37th year of Jebsen's captivity, after reigning 43 years. Wintle.

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ness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me;


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and I was established in my kingdom, BELSHAZZAR the king made a and excellent majesty was added unto


37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. (G)

great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.

2 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the

EXPOSITION-Chap. IV. Continued.

(G) Ver. 19-37. Daniel's interpretation of the preceding dream. Daniel, we are told, was astonied for one hour." No doubt he paused to pray; but this was not all; he found the dream contained painful tidings, and his thoughts troubled him. "My lord, (said he,) the dream be to them that hate thee!" However, painful as might be the task, and serious as might be the consequences, he must be faithful. Bp. Lowth remarks, that in prophetic language," Cedars of Lebanon, and oaks of Bashan, are used in the way of metaphor and allegory, for kings, princes, and potentates, of the highest rank." (Isa.ii. 13-16.) And the prophet Ezekiel (chap. xxxi.) has represented both the monarchs of Assyria and of Egypt under the figure of mighty cedars. But here Nebuchadnezzar is represented as a fruit tree; not only lofty and strong, but having borne fruit to feed, as well as branches to protect, his numerous provinces. He, however, who is " Higher than the highest," saw the extent to which his power and ambition had grown, and sent down his orders by a heavenly messenger, to "hew down the tree;" but yet to spare the stump, and protect the root, that after a while it might sprout and grow again. It is useless to speculate on the order of celestial beings here intended. The angels of God are in constant attendance on his presence, and wait to execute his commands. (See chap. vii. 10.) They are here called watchers, or guardians, be cause it is their office to watch, with unremitting attention, the objects committed to their care, as in the case before us; and under the new dispensation, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for (or to) them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Heb. i. 14.)

Daniel closes his prediction with an intimation to the king, that there was yet room for his repentance; and that by works of righteousness and mercy, the judgment might be, at least, protracted, and his tranquillity lengthened. But, alas! how quickly do the most solemn impressions on the human mind wear off? Distressed as he doubtless was at the moment, he soon forgets his dreams, and in one short year again begins to boast, "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built?" though he had only embellished and enlarged it: "built by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?" Alas! poor vain mortal!" While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, O king Nebuchadnezzar, the kingdom is departed from thee!" What follows need not to be strained to an exactly literal interpretation. He lost his reason; and, becoming a maniac, was driven from human society; associating, probably, with the animals in the parks and pleasuregrounds of his own palace; totally neglected by those who assumed his authority, and that, for seven years successively, he became more like a satyr than a man.

This judgment was designed, however, not for his utter destruction, but reform; at the end of the appointed period, not only did his understanding return to him, but he appears to have been completely humbled, and gave glory to that God who is "able to abase those who walk in pride," as he had done. This declaration is in perfect harmony with the opening verses of the chapter, which many suppose had reference to this humbling providence. While looking down upon his own performances, he lost his reason; in looking up to heaven, it was restored.


CHAP. V. Ver. 1. A great feast probably continued for a considerable time. See Esther i. 3, &c. Ver. 2. Whiles he tasted. It was customary at the commencement of a festal solemnity, to offer a libation to their gods, and to this the tasting here mentioned is supposed to refer. See Mr. Wintle,

who conceives the occnsion of this feast to have been, a dedication of the kingdom to his idols, which makes his calling for the sacred vessels of the Jews the more impious.

Ibid. His father Marg."Grandfather." So ver. 11 and 13. Comp. 2 Sam. ix. 7; Jer. xxvii. 7.

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temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.

3 Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.

4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.

5 In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick, upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

6 Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.

7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.

8 Then came in all the king's wise men but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.

9 Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.

[on the wall, the words of the king and his lords came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, O king, live for ever let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed:

11 There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrolo gers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;

12 Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Da niel, whom the king named Belteshaz zar: now let Daniel be called, and be will shew the interpretation.

13 Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry?

14 I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.

15 And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing:

16 And I have heard of thee, that 10 Now the queen by reason of thou canst make interpretations, and

NOTES-Chap. V. Con.

Ver. 5. The candlestick - - probably a chandelier, having several branches, with lamps, which shone full against the wall where the hand wrote.

It often

Ver. 6. Countenance-Chold, “Brightnesses," or rather, "sparklings." So we say, "the eyes sparkle;" the countenance is "lighted up with joy." refers to festivity, or inebriety, as in this verse; but alas! it was changed to a melancholy consternation. -The joints....loosed. The term is sometimes applied to loosening the dress, but here evidently has a stronger import: his frame was unnerved.

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Ver. 7. The astrologers, &c.-See Notes on chap. i. 20. Scarlet Marg. "Purple." So Wintle and Boothroyd; and the same ver. 28. Ver. 8. They could not read. - From this, Dr. Boothroyd infers that the writing was in the old Sa.

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Ver. 10. The queen-probably the queen-mother, whose name was Nitoeris, according to Herodotu

Ver. 11. Thy father (that is, grandfather; Nate on ver.2.) made master,&c.-To account for Daniel's being out of oflice, (as is evident from several circunstances,) Mr. Harmer quotes Sir John Chardin, as saying, that "in the East, when the king dies, the physicians and astrologers are displaced: the first for not having driven away death, and the other far not having predicted it." Harmer's Obs. ii. 162 Ver. 12. Dissolving doubts — Chaldee, literally, "Untying of knots."

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dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.

17 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.

18 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour :

19 And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive: and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down.

20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him :

21 And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.

22 And thou his son, O Belshazzar,



hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;

23 But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:

24 Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.

25 And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSİN.

26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.

27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

29 Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.

31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old. (H)


(H) Belshazzar's feast: his death, and the end of the Babylonian empire.-Nebuchadnezzar, it is generally believed, did not survive bis recovery more than a year

or two; and it may have been in mercy that he was taken away, to preserve hiur from another apostacy. An hiatus occurs here, in the chronology of Daniel, between the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar and Bel


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any intelligible sentence from them; at the same time we deny not that the characters themselves might be unknown.

Ver. 28. Peres: this is the root of Upbarsin, without the vau. But it was also, as Bp. Chandler remarks, the proper name of Persia, or the Persians, which made the phrase equivocal.

Ver. 29. They clothed Daniel.-See Esther vi. 8. Ver.30. In that night, &c.-See Jer. li. 31, &c. Ver.31. Being about, &c. - Chald, "Being now the son of 62 years."

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IT pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;

2 And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.

3 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, be cause an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.

4 Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they


could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.

5 Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.

6 Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.

7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, save

EXPOSITION-Chap. V. Continued.

shazzar, who, as appears by Jeremiah, (ch. lii. 31, &c.) was not his immediate successor, Evil-merodach having intervened, and perhaps another. Belshazzar was, however, the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, and the intervening reign was short.

This impious monarch seems to have placed his chief happiness in carousing, and thought to give a zest to this enjoyment by drinking his wine in the golden vessels which had been captured from the sacred temple of the Jews. He, therefore, with his princes, wives, and concubines, "drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and silver, brass, wood, and stone;" but paid no reverence to "the King of heaven," whom Nebuchadnezzar had, in his last days, so gratefully extolled.

But the Most High witnessed this procedure; and, behold, a hand is seen writing some mysterious characters upon the wall, facing his chandelier. His countenance is changed from its former joyous brightness to gloom and horror. His mind is filled with alarm and terror; the joints of his loins are loosed, and his knees smite together. The king flies to the usual resource of the ignorant and superstitious, the astrologers and soothsayers: but they failed him, as they had done his grandfather. One may wonder that, seeing the characters, they inade no attempt to deci

pher and interpret them; but it is possible they might be as much alarmed as the king himself, and had no time for planning an imposition. The queen dowager, that is, Nebuchadnezzar's queen, who appears not to have been of this joyous party, hearing of their consternation, recommends an immediate application to Daniel, whom she describes as having in him "the spirit of the holy gods;" and he appears without delay, though he seems to have been now out of office. Great honours and rewards are again proffered him; but he had learned the vanity of all earthly honours, and spurned at the proposal. He was willing, however, to undertake the task required; but began with a severe reproof of the king's idolatry, and inattention to his Maker; a reproof, alas! too applicable both to the writer and the reader of these lines: "The God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, thou hast not glorified." To him, indeed, the warning was too late,-may it not be so to us! The enemy was at their gates, and while one part of the company was stupified with liquor, and the other horrified by the message from heaven, Cyrus entered the impregnable city; the king was slain, and the empire was transferred to the Mcdes and Persians.


CHAP. VI. Ver. 1. Darius-called also Cyaxares, whose father was Ahasuerus (ch. ix. 1.) or Astyages, king of Media, who concurred with the king of Assyria in the destruction of Nineveh. Herodotus and Xenophon both mention a gold coin called a Daric, from this prinee, of which Sir Isaac Newton mentions having seen one.

Ver. 6. Assembled together-Marg. "Came toms. tuously," perhaps in a large body, and in great bustle, to take the king by surprise, as it appears they did.

Ver. 8. Which altereth not-Chald." Passeth not away;" i. e. abides in perpetual obligation.

Ver. 10. In his chamber — LXX, “ Upper-cham

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