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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 4

The Pulpit CommentariesThe Pulpit Commentaries

Verses 1-37


Daniel 4:1-37


We follow here the division of chapters which we find in our English Version, and as, indeed, in all modern versions. The Aramaic concludes the third chapter with the three verses which are placed in our version at the beginning of the fourth chapter. The arrangement of the Aramaic is followed by the Septuagint, by Theodotion, and by Jerome. The Peshitta and Paulus Tellensis follow the more logical division. Luther divides the chapters logically enough, but carries on the numbering of the verses from the preceding chapter. It is difficult to see anything that can even seem to be a reason for this division. It may indicate a suspicion of these verses at the time the chapters were divided.

Daniel 4:1

(Aramaic ch. 3:31).—Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. The Septuagint has a different reading here, "The beginning of the letter of Nebuchadnezzar the king to all peoples and tongues dwelling in the whole earth: Peace to you be multiplied." In this reading, the first clause is the heading of all that follows, and the document itself begins with, "Peace to you be multiplied." The absence of the opening words from the Syriac Version of the Septuagint by Paulus Tellensis is against its authenticity. It may have been a scribal note which has slipped into the text. Theodotion is an exact rendering of the Massoretic text. The Peshitta Version appears to have followed a recension between that on which the Septuagint Version is founded and the Massoretic text, "Nebuchadnezzar the king wrote to all nations, peoples, and tongues, Joy be increased to you." The most natural explanation of this uncertainty in the text is that this chapter is a condensation of a longer document. Were the document in question a proclamation of Nebuchadnezzar, his titles would necessarily have followed. These, however, are omitted, and only malka, "king," is retained. The baldness of this seems to have suggested the variations which we find in the Septuagint and the Peshitta. The recension before us gives the beginning of the letter according to the attesting note of the LXX. In the middle of the document condensation by the simple omission of clauses was seen to be awkward and perhaps impossible, so instead a summary is given in the third person. That we have not found the proclamation itself is not extraordinary from the very fragmentary condition in which the annals of Nebuchadnezzar have come down to us.

Daniel 4:2, Daniel 4:3

I thought it good to show the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation. The Greek versions for these two verses are in absolute agreement, hence one is not surprised to find that in the Syriac of Paulus Tellensis, these verses, with that preceding, are marked with an asterisk, which proclaims them not to have been regarded by their translator as a genuine part of the Septuagint, but to have been added from Theodotion. They are in close agreement with the Massoretic text. In these two verses the Peshitta is also at one with the Massoretic text. It is possible that this may have been the actual beginning of the document; on the other hand, it may have been simply the suggestion of some later scribe of how such a proclamation might have begun. The latter is, perhaps, the more probable. At the same time, it vindicates its position by being a not unnatural expression of feelings such as Nebuchadnezzar might well be supposed to have had after such an experience as he had passed through. It may even be that the signs and wonders to which Nebuchadnezzar refers are not merely those of his dream and its fulfilment, but all the signs that had been manifested in his reign.

Daniel 4:4, Daniel 4:5

I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace: I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. In the Aramaic text there is what may be regarded either as a play on words of the nature of rhyme, or the traces of a doublet. The Septuagint begins the chapter with this verse, as does the Massoretic text, but further appends a date, "In the eighteenth year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar said, I was at peace in my house, and established upon my throne: I saw a vision, and I was awestruck, and fear fell upon me." Theodotion differs from this and also from the Massoretic text, and renders, "I Nebuchadnezzar was flourishing (εὐθηνῶν) in my house, and was prospering (εὐθαλῶν)." The similarity in sound between εὐθηνῶν and εὐθαλῶν may have had to do with the rendering. It will be noted that this is further from the Massoretic recension than the Septuagint. The Peshitta repeats the idea of rest, "I Nebuchadnezzar was at peace (shala) in my house, and was resting (reeh) in my palace." The Massoretic is supported by the Septuagint, and, therefore, strong. The date in the Septuagint, however, may be questioned. The eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar was that preceding the capture of Jerusalem, which, according to Jeremiah 52:12, happened in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. In the twenty-ninth verse of the same chapter we have an account of the carrying away of prisoners by Nebuchadnezzar in his eighteenth year, in a passage omitted from the LXX; in a way that makes it probable that, if this passage be genuine, the one is according to the Jewish, the other according to the Babylonian mode of reckoning. If that is so, the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar would mean the year of the capture of Jerusalem. If this date had, however, been correct, something about the coincidence would have been mentioned. Had this book been written to encourage the Jews in their conflict against Epiphanes, it would have been mentioned that Nebuchadnezzar's madness occurred after he had captured Jerusalem. At the same time, a later scribe would have a tendency to insert such a date, even if no date had been there, or at all events to modify any other date into this. Thus we find in the Septuagint Jeremiah 52:15 (Massoretic 19, Authorized Version 24) a reference to the capture of Jerusalem. Another cause would tend to make "eighteenth year" liable to occur at this point, it is that the previous chapter in the Septuagint begins with assigning the same date. The change must have been made before the exemplar from which the Septuagint translator made his translation had bern transcribed, as it appears in Paulus Tellensis. Ewald has suggested "the twenty-eighth year"—in many respects a probable suggestion. As Ewald has pointed out, the proclamation would have a date. Even if, as Ewald maintained, it was the work of a later time than the days of Nebuchadnezzar, yet so skilful a writer could not fail to recognize the necessity. The Septuagint Version does not give the beginning of this narrative the form of a proclamation. The attitude of the king is that of rest after the toils of long wars—an attitude that could not be attributed to him when he had not reached the middle of his reign. The conquest of Egypt followed the capture of Jerusalem. The difference between "ten" and "twenty" in Aramaic, as in Hebrew, is comparatively little. עֲשַׂר (‛asar) is "ten," עְשְׂרִין (‛asareen) is "twenty." As the "ten" is the final word in the numerical statement, it would be modified asaratha, whereas the word "twenty" is frequently in similar circumstances unmodified; we should then have ‛asareen. It may have been even later, but if the real year had been "thirty-eighth," the modification of the words would require to be greater. Ewald's further consideration, that as "thirty-eighth" would only leave five years till the forty-three years of Nebuchadnezzar were completed, and therefore would not leave space for the seven years of madness, is of less force, as we are not obliged to take "times" as "years" in Jeremiah 52:16 and Jeremiah 52:32. The king had received tokens of Divine power in his past history, and had in a sort acknowledged God but still he had not surrendered his pride. The idea that in this there is a reference to Epiphanes seems far-fetched. The only reason assigned by Hitzig and Behrmann is that the Antiochian mob nicknamed him Ἐπιμανής. We have no reason to believe that this was a common nickname, even in Antioch, and there is not very much likelihood of the nickname spreading to Judaea. There is absolutely no evidence that Antiochus ever received the nickname "Epimanes." The passage appealed to is usually Polybius, Jeremiah 26:10, but in that passage there is nothing of the kind said. This portion of Polybius has come down to us only in quotation in Athenaeus' 'Deipnosophistae'—a collection of odds and ends, strung together by a dialogue. In this book, twice is this portion of Polybius quoted, and in introducing this quotation in beth cases the author refers to the nickname "Epimanes." In the one case, Jeremiah 5:21 (193), he says generally "Antiochus, surnamed (κληθείς) Epiphanes, but called (ὀνομασθείς) Epimanes, for his deeds." So far as this goes, Antiochus may have been generally nicknamed Epimanes; but it is to be noted that this is not said, and Polybius is not given as the authority. In the other passage the aspect of things is changed. In 10:53 (439) Athenaeus gives the reference to the book of Polybius, and says, speaking of Antiochus, "Polybius calls him Epimanes on account of his deeds." Here Athenaeus says that Polybius himself called Antiochus Epimanes, not that anybody else did so. He does not say that Polybius says that Antiochus "was called Epimanes," but that "Polybius calls him (Πολύβιος δ ̓ aὐτὸν Ἐπιμανῆ καὶ οὐκ Ἐπιφανῆ)." He further gives no indication where Polybius says this. As there is no evidence for the nickname, there is no evidence that this incident was invented to suit this non-existent nickname. The picture of Nebuchadnezzar at rest in his palace is as unlike as possible the uneasy restless demeanour of Antiochus, staggering through the streets more or less drunk, joining with any brawlers he might come in contact with. If the writer of Daniel got the story of the madness from the nickname, he would not fail to get an account of the habits of the monarch, which led to the nickname being given. If he intended his picture of Nebuehadnezzar resting in his palace after his victorious career, with all the dignity of an Oriental monarch, to be recognized as a portrait of Antiochus roaming the streets with a set of drunken companions, the author of Daniel must have had singular ideas of portraiture. It would require a madness greater then Nebuchadnezzar's to believe it

Daniel 4:6, Daniel 4:7

Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream. Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof. These verses do not occur in the LXX. Theodotion is a somewhat slavish translation of the Massoretic text, "From me there was set up (ἐτέθη) a decree to summon before me all the wise men of Babylon," etc. The Peshitta is somewhat freer, but as close to the Massoretic text. Still, the want of the verses in the Septuagint would throw a doubt on their authenticity, even if there were nothing in the verses themselves to make them liable to suspicion.

Daniel 4:8

But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying. This verse is also omitted in the Septuagint. Instead of this verse and those preceding, this verse occurs after the account of the dream, "And when I arose from my couch in the morning, I called Daniel, the ruler of the wise men, and the chief of the interpreters of dreams, and I related to him the dream, and he showed me all the interpretation of it." Theodotion and the Peshitta agree with the Massoretic text. The Septuagint arranges differently: instead of deferring the account of the dream till Nebuchadnezzar tells it to Daniel, the account of the dream follows immediately upon the statement of the fact that it had occurred and had troubled the king. In it, as we have seen, there is nothing of the summoning of all the wise men of Babylon in all their various classes. This summoning of the whole college of wise men, astrologers, soothsayers, and Chaldeans, is in obvious contradiction, not only to Daniel 2:48, but also to the ninth verse of the chapter before us. There was no need of summoning the college of augurs until the king had consulted their head. The explanation of these verses and the occasion of their interpolation is not unlike the fact narrated in Daniel 2:2, where Nebuchadnezzar, on account of his first dream, calls together the wise men—that when he had a dream that troubled him it was natural that Nebuchadnezzar should do as the Septuagint declares he did, summon "Daniel, the ruler of the wise men, and the chief of the interpreters of dreams." One result of which follows, if we discard these verses, i.e. that we get rid, in this passage, of the class of "Chaldeans," and further, of the etymology of "Belteshazzar," both of which have been made objections to the authenticity of Daniel.

Daniel 4:9

O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof. This verso is also omitted in the Septuagint. Theodotion and the Peshitta both have this passage, but with slight variations from the Massoretic text. Instead of "No secret troubleth [אָנֵס, 'anays, 'compel,' Esther 1:8] thee," Thedotion renders, "No secret (μυστήριον) baffles (ἀδυνατεῖ) thee." The Peshitta renders. "And no secret is hid ('ethcasee) from thee," reading, instead of אָנֵס, probably הִתְכְסִי. Behrmann, who translates the word by verborgen, thinks the choice of the word occasioned by Ezekiel 28:3, "No secret is hid from thee" (עְמָמוּךָ), this last word, he thinks, occasioning the use of אנס; but עֲמַם: is used in Aramaic (see Le Ezekiel 13:6, "dark" of the spot of leprosy). It seems more probable that there is some mistake in the reading. The Massoretic reading of the last clause seems modelled on the situation in the second chapter, where Nebuchadnezzar demands of the magicians that they not only give the interpretation of the dream, but tell the dream itself. The versions here do not agree with the Massoretic. Theodotion renders, "Hear the vision (ὅρασιν) of the dream which I saw, and tell me its interpretation." The Peshitta has, "In the vision of my dream I was seeing visions of my head, and tell me the interpretation." The Massoretic reading contradicts the situation, and the variety of reading in the two versions confirms the suspicion of this verse induced by its absence from the Septuagint. "Master of the magicians" (rab-ḥartummaya). There is nothing in Daniel 2:48 about the promotion of Daniel over the "magi-clans," but only over the "governors (signeen) of the wise men (ḥakaymeen) of Babylon" This is not to be in itself regarded as a proof of antagonism between these verses and the earlier portion of the, book, as Daniel might have been promoted in the interval. The Peshitta calls Daniel rab-haḥmeen, "chief of the wise men;" Theodotion, ἄρχων τῶν ἐπαοιδῶν. It is also to be observed that the writer of these verses does not make Daniel rab-mag, which so generally was anciently understood to mean "master of the magicians." Avoiding an alluring blunder is often as clear a proof of knowledge as a directly correct statement. "Spirit of the holy gods;" not "the Spirit," but "a spirit." The Authorized Version is here correct in translating "gods," not "God," as the adjective is plural; not as Theodotion, who renders, "a holy spirit of God," reading, רוּחַ אלה קְדוֹשָׁה.

Daniel 4:10

Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. The Septuagint is different here, "I was sleeping [on my couch], and behold a lofty tree springing out of the earth, and its appearance was great, and there was not another like to it." The words, "on my couch," are marked with an asterisk, denoting that they have been added, probably from Theodotion. There are indications here of a text slightly different from the Massoretic, even in the latter portion of the verse, where the LXX. and the Massoretic text come closest. Instead of bego' (בְגוֹא), "in the midst of," the LXX. reading has been saggeee (שׂגִּיא), "great." The last clause is most widely different from the Massoretic text; instead of "and the height thereof was great," we have, "and there was no other like it." It is not easy to imagine how the one reading grew from the other. Roomeh (דוּמֵה), "height," might easily be mistaken for דְמָה (demah), if roomeh were written defectively; but the rest of the clause cannot easily be explained The Massoretic text has a certain redundancy of meaning, which is suspicious. In this verse we are told the tree was "great;" the opening clause of the following says the tree grew; whereas the Septuagint, while asserting its loftiness, asserts also that it was "growing" (φνόμενον). On the whole, we prefer the Septuagint, as it does not proceed to assert further that the tree "grew great." Theodotion, while in the latter portion of the verse agreeing with the Massoretic text, omits the introductory clause. The Pe-shitta is a briefer recension of the Massoretic text, "The vision in my couch was—a tree in the midst of the earth, the height great." The reference here may be, to the sacred tree of the Assyrians, the symbol of life, which is so perpetually introduced into the sculptures of Nineveh, and seen also in some Babylonian cylinders, especially in connection with royal acts of worship, in Lenormant we find that a sacred tree—a conifer of some sort as seen by the sculptures—was supposed to have the quality of breaking the power of the seven Maskim. Whatever the origin of this belief, it seems to have passed into the faith of Assyria and Babylon, and to have so permeated them that Ezekiel (31) describes Assyria as a mighty cedar. To pass from the empire to its ruler was a specially easy step in regard to an Oriental monarchy, in which the state was the monarch, in the midst of the earth. This refers to the notion each nation had that their own was the middle point, or omphalos, of the world. Though גַו (gav) meant originally really "back," not "middle," yet it is used of the furnace of fire in the preceding chapter, and the primitive meaning is entirely lost in the Targums.

Daniel 4:11

The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth. This verse is transposed in the Septuagint with the following verse, and is rendered, "And its appearance (ὅρασις) was great, and its top approached to the heavens, and its breadth (κύτος, equivalent to 'branches') filled (πληροῦν) to the clouds all things beneath the heaven and the sun and the moon were, and dwelt in it, and enlightened all the earth." The addition in the last clause is a singular and picturesque one to one standing beneath a spreading tree; sun and moon might pierce with their rays through some thin points in the foliage, but they would seem never to get beyond the widespread branches of the tree, and therefore it would be but a poetical mode of statement to say, "the sun and moon dwelt amid the branches." At the same time, it is not impossible that there was some astronomical legend of the sun and moon and the tree of life. If this proclamation was originally written in cuneiform, there might easily be some difficulty at times in deciphering and fixing in which of a dozen possible senses a given word must be taken. The variation is beyond the region of mere ordinary blundering in Aramaic. On the other hand, it seems too picturesque for the work of a commonplace interpolator. Theodotion in the main agrees with the Massoretic, but instead of "sight thereof," he has "breadth (κότος) thereof," reading some such word as pathootheh instead of ḥazotheh. The Peshitta is in close agreement with the received text. To those who, like the Babylonian, believed the earth to he a vast plain, it was not inconceivable that a tree should be so high as to be seen over the whole earth. It is a very suitable symbol of a great world-empire. At the same time, we must remember that the great variation in this verse in the Septuagint makes its authenticity somewhat doubtful.

Daniel 4:12

The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it. The Septuagint Version here is widely different: "Its branches were thirty furlongs in extent, and underneath its shadow all beasts of the earth took shelter, and in it the birds of heaven made their nests, and its fruit was much and good, and it supplied all living creatures." As already mentioned, this verse occurs before the one we have just been considering. It differs, like it, more than can be explained by a mistake in reading the Massoretic Aramaic; if it were translated from a cuneiform document, it is easily imaginable in what form the statement might be made. The reading, however, is not an unlikely one in the description of a dream, if we could have imagined the Indian banyan tree to have been known to the authors of this version, we might have understood the tree of the dream to have been like it. Theodotion is at one with the Massoretic text, as also the Peshitta. Whether we take the symbol of a tree used for the Babylonian empire, as drawn from the Babylonian tree of life, or merely devised by the poetic fancy of the monarch, inspired for the time, it must be recognized as very apt. From the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean, it stretched from the cataracts of the Nile in all probability into Asia Minor. Over all this empire the monarch maintained the attitude of an earthly providence. It was because government was strong that peaceable men could live. It is useless to carry the similitude into the minutiae of Jephet-ibn-Ali, who maintains that the wild beasts are the nomads of the deserts, and the birds the strangers that came to Nebuchadnezzar from far. In the Aramaic here there are traces of the antiquity in the language: the use of inbbaya, "fruit," instead of ibbaya, is one instance. Saggeee (with sin) is a proof that the distinction between שׂ and סwas still understood, and probably beard. It is remarked by Keil that this word does not really mean "much," but rather "great," "strong." Although it is undeniable that he is correct as to the primitive meaning of the word, it can scarcely mean anything else than "much" in the present connection. Mazon, "food," is rare as a Biblical word, but occurs in Genesis as well as Chronicles. Professor Bevan quotes Noldeke in favour of a Mandaean origin for it.

Daniel 4:13

I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven. The Septuagint Version is shorter here, and therefore, other things being equal, is to be preferred, "And I saw in my dream, and an angel was sent in power from heaven." Theodotion is as usual in closer accord with the text of the Massoretic than is the Septuagint; yet he omits "of my head." The Peshitta, yet closer to the Massoretic text, only omits "behold." There is now a change in the vision. The monarch sees "a watcher and a holy one descend." This is rendered rightly by the Septuagint, "an angel." Jephet-ibn-Ali maintains that there are two, and that the watcher is the higher. The word עִיר (‛eer), "watcher," occurs only in this chapter in the Bible. In the Book of Enoch the name occurs almost a score of times, and is used to designate the archangels. In the present case the word קָדִּישׁ, (qaddeesh), "a holy one," is in all likelihood an explanatory addition, the word being unknown before—probably an adaptation of some Assyrian name. On the other hand, in the Book of Enoch every one is supposed to be as well acquainted with the עִירִים of Daniel as with the cherubim and ophanim of Ezekiel and the seraphim of Isaiah. Does not this imply that, at the time the Book of Enoch was written, the Book of Daniel was equally well known with those of the two other prophets? The latest conceivable date for Enoch is b.c. 130, and so late a date never would have been thought of had there not been a necessity to place its date after that at which critics in their wisdom had placed Daniel. The date above mentioned implies that Judas Maccabaeus is unmentioned in a struggle of which he was the crowning hero. Even grant that later date, it is inconceivable that a single generation could have given Daniel such a place of honour as to be regarded as the equal with Isaiah and Ezekiel. In this connection it is to be noticed that, though the ophanim, "wheels," of Ezekiel are made use of, the soosim, "horses," of Zechariah do not appear in the later books. Yet they are declared to be spirits. If Daniel were a contemporary of Ezekiel, and his writings had thus had time to sink into the mind of the Jewish people, this phenomenon can be understood.

Daniel 4:14

He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, cut off his branches, shako off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches. The Septuagint Version is, "And one called and said to him, Cut it down, and destroy it; for it is decreed by the Highest to root it out and destroy it." It is possible that abbey in the Greek was due to כֵן (kayn) being read as לוֹ (lō). The phrase as it stands in the Greek is not unlike Revelation 14:18, "And another cried with a loud voice to him that had the sharp sickle." It is, therefore, equally possible that לוֹ (lō) has been changed into כֵן (kayn). The latter part of the verse is more condensed, and therefore, by that, more probable; only the rooting out commanded seems to contradict the fact that it is also commanded to leave "one root of it." Theodotion is in much closer agreement with the Massoretic, save that the beasts, instead of being warned to depart from beneath the shadow of the tree, are to be shaken (σαλευθηῖωσαν) from beneath it, as are all the birds from its branches. The Peshitta is an accurate translation of the text of the Massoretes. A peculiarity to be observed in the Aramaic is that the verbs are in the plural, which is retained in Theodotion and the Peshitta. It seems difficult to understand this. Stuart's explanation ― which is practically that of Havernick and Hitzig—that the command is addressed by the עִיר (‛eer) to his retinue, seems highly forced, as there has been no word of a retinue. Keil's and Kliefoth's view, that the plural is the impersonal, does not suit the circumstances. We have a suspicion that the plural is due to a mistake—thinking the watcher and the holy one were separate persons. The Septuagint, however, has the plural, which is all the more extraordinary that αὐτῷ is singular. The function assigned here to the angels must be observed. Here, as in the parables of our Lord, the angels are the instruments by whom the decrees of providence are executed. In our days angels are not believed in. It is possible that materialism has much of its advantage over us, in that we do not recognize the existence and activity of angelic forces among the agencies of nature and providence.

Daniel 4:15

Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots 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 in the grass of the earth. Again the Septuagint differs considerably from the received text, "And thus he said, Leave one root of it in the earth, in order that it may with the beasts of the earth browse in the mountains on grass like an ox." As the reading is the briefer, it is on the whole to be preferred, the more so that the belt of iron and brass is got rid of. The Septuagint assumes that the work of demolishing the tree had gone on to some extent, and then the watcher intervenes to bring forward this limitation to the completeness of the destruction at first enjoined. Theodotion is in agreement with the Massoretic text, as also the Peshitta. Moses Stuart thinks the belt of iron and brass is represented as being put round the stump of the tree in order to prevent it cracking, and so rotting, in this following yon Langerke. Keil, with more justice, thinks that this is a transition from the symbol to the person symbolized; in this view he agrees with Hengstenberg, Kliefoth, Zöckler, Behrmann, Hitzig, Ewald, Kranichfeld, and others. There is a further division of opinion as to whether it symbolizes the mental darkness Nebuchadnezzar will be under, or the limitation of his kingdom, or the fact that, as a maniac, he will be bound with fetters. The fact that, while commentators have devoted so much time to this, there is no reference to it in the interpretation, confirms us in our suspicion of the whole clause. The transition to the person, if barely doubtful in regard to the belt of iron and brass, is obvious in the remaining clauses in this verse. Every tree is wet with the dew of heaven—that would indicate neither degradation nor hardship; and the browsing with the boasts is impossible to a tree. The transition from thing to person is in perfect accordance with what every one has experienced in dreams.

Daniel 4:16

Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass ever him. The Septuagint rendering seems to be taken from the previous verse, "And let his body be changed by the dew of heaven, and let him be pastured with them seven years." It seems difficult to imagine, either, on the one hand, לִבְבֵהּ (libebayh) changed into פִגְרָהּ (pigerah), the word by which Paulus Tellensis translates σῶμα, though it suggests "carcase," or into נִדְנֵה (nidnayh), the word used in Daniel 7:15; or, on the other, that either of these should be read lebab. At the same time, לand נare not unlike in old inscriptions, nor בunlike ;ד any indistinctness in the third letter might easily lead to a mistake. It is not impossible that some of the words in the latter part of the previous verse have been modified from some word meaning "body." It is equally difficult to guess what word has been read by the Septuagint translator instead of יַחְלְפוּן (yaḥlephoon), "let them pass over." The greater brevity of the Septuagint is in its favour. Theodotion is, as usual, in closer agreement with the Massoretic; he renders min-anaosha' or anosha' for ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, "from men"—a possible translation, and one favoured by some recent commentators. The Peshitta agrees quite with the received text. According to the received text, the main change was mental—the human heart is removed, and the heart of a beast given. On the other hand, in the twenty-third verse, in which we have the fulfilment of the dream, the change is mainly physical, and it is to be observed that the change is produced by "the dew of heaven." Seven times. The word ‛iddanun, "times," is a matter of some difficulty; it means really "seasons" or "points" of time, as in Ecclesiastes 3:2, Targum, and Genesis 38:1, Targum Onkelos, "It came to pass at this time." It is purely arbitrary to fix the meaning here as "years," as is done by the Septuagint and by many commentators. Theodotiom keeps the indefiniteness of the original by rendering the word here καιροί. The Peshitta transfers the word. It may be" months" as suggested by Lenormant; it maybe "seasons," in our usual sense of the word. Rendel Harris's 'Biblical Monuments,' p. 73, says, "Summer and winter are the only seasons counted in Babylonia;" if so, seven ‛iddaneen would be nearly four years. From the fact that exposure to weather is the point of importance, Mr. Harris's view is not impossible; but pathological reasons suggest "months" (see Excursus at the end of chapter). Seven, with the Babylonians, as with most other Semites, is a round number of sacred import, and therefore may not be pressed.

Daniel 4:17

This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy odes: to the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. In this verse the difference between the Septuagint text—we mean the text behind that version—and that of the Massoretes is great. It is as follows: "Until he know the Lord of heaven to have power over all things which are in heaven and on the earth, and such things as he willeth to do, tie doeth." This, as may be observed, is very much briefer than the Massoretic, and hence, to a certain extent, to be preferred. It is, however, difficult to imagine the genesis of the one from the other, as they have only two words in common in a similar connection, שַׁלִּיּט (shaleeṭ) and ינְדְּעוּן (yinedeoon)' If we start with the supposition that the Massoretic text is the primary, we have a difficulty in seeing what reason induced this peculiar form of condensation. Had it been to get rid of the decree of the watchers, and the demand of the holy ones, that clause might have been simply omitted, and the sense would have given no sign of anything having been omitted. If, again, we start with the Septuagint text as our basis, it is difficult to understand what led to the insertion of "the decree of the watchers" and "the demand of the holy ones." Of course, the period of the Persian domination and that of the early Greek supremacy was one in which the angelic hierarchy was enormously increased and made vastly more complex than it had been before. Further, it is to be noted that "the watchers," עירין (‛ereen), are here distinguished absolutely from "the holy ones," קַדִישִׁין (gaddeesheen), whereas in Daniel 4:10 (13) "the watchers" and "the holy ones" are identified. This distinction is made in later Jewish commentators, and therefore its. presence here, fin contradistinction to Daniel 4:13, is proof of a relatively late origin for this clause. Zöckler would avoid this by asserting a parallelism of members in this sentence; but, in the first place, this is not verse, but prose, and therefore parallelism need not be expected. Further, גְזֵדֵת (gezayrath) is "a decree" given by a person in authority, and אדּ (sh'alayth) is "a petition" presented to one in authority. So far from the two being identified in the verse before us, the watchers and the holy ones are as absolutely contrasted as they can be. Bevan simply appeals to Daniel 4:10 (13) to prove their identity—sense has no influence with him. When we turn to Theodotion, we find that, in his practical identity with the Massoretic text, he has preserved the contrast between "decree" and "petition," the former word being represented by σύγκριμα, and the second by ἐπερώτημα. These two words represent fairly well the distinction between גְצֵרֵת (gezayrath), and שְׁאַלֵת (sh'alayth). It is probable that σύγκριμα is used instead of κρίμα in order to show that εἴρ is to be regarded as genitive plural. The Peshitta follows the Massoretic, but less closely. It has עיר, "watcher," in the singular. This clause in the Syriac should be rendered, "according to the decrees of the watcher is this order, and according to the word of the holy one is the request;" it retains the distinction in question much as it is in the received text, but with a distinct difference of meaning in regard to the ether words of the clause. So, too, Jerome in the Vulgate translates, "In sententia vigilum decretum eat et sermo sanctorum et petitio," thus maintaining, in all the confusion there is in this rendering, the distinction we have referred to. In the final clause, the Vulgate is further astray from the Massoretic. translating, super eum. The theology of this passage is singular, so singular that, were it not for the omission of the passage from the Septuagint. and its contradiction of Daniel 4:13, we might be inclined to think it must be genuine. (For a similar statement, see Galatians 3:19, "The Law … was ordained by angels;" Hebrews 2:2, "If the word spoken by angels was steadfast.") The view seems to be that the Almighty had a council of angels, and before them was every question discussed ere it was decreed. In short, that there was a heavenly sanhedrin, corresponding to that on earth—an idea which was developed by the Talmudists. It appears in Enoch, not vet fully developed. In Enoch 12. certain of the watchers are denounced as having defiled themselves with women; in ch. 20. we have the name of the holy angels who watch, and in this chapter we have the different provinces assigned to each of them. Six are enumerated. They have thus no collective function. In the portion of Enoch preserved in Syncellus, men are represented as calling to the heavens, and addressing them; and the four angels, Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel, give answer by looking down upon the earth, and they see the blood that is being shed by violence. Then follows the statement, "And the four archangels came before the Lord, and said." They may be here said to act in a collective capacity, but they have no deliberative function, still less have they any power to decree. The interpolated verse before us thus represents an angelology more developed than that of the date of the Book of Enoch. And setteth up over it the basest of men. This phrase suggests the "vile person," נִבְּזֶה (nibezeh), of Daniel 11:21, who is probably Epiphanes—the reference in this interpolated verse is not unlikely the same. The Syriac form of עליה in the K'thib has to be observed. One peculiarity which points to interpolation is the Hebrew plural here used, אֶנָשִׁים (anāsheem). Were it not that our suspicions of this verse are deepened by examination of it, we should be inclined to see a reference to that usurpation of Nebuchadnezzar's throne, which Lenormant thinks is implied in the title Neriglissar gives to his father. There seems to be a reference to something like this in Daniel 11:24 of this chapter, according to the version of the LXX.

Daniel 4:18

This dream I King Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation; but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee. This verse is wholly omitted in the Septuagint. On the other hand, the verse in the Septuagint which occupies this place is totally different from anything in the Massoretic text: "Before me was it cut down in one day, and its destruction was in one hour of the day, and its branches were given to every wind, and it was driven out and dragged forth, and it ate the grass of the earth, and it was delivered to a guard, and in brazen fetters and shackles was it bound with them. I marvelled exceedingly at these things, and the sleep departed from mine eyes." The first thing that strikes one with this is the fact that it is a translation from Aramaic. The clause, "in brazen fetters and shackles was it bound with them," seems nearly demonstrative of this. Ἐν πέδαις καὶ ἐν χειροπέδαις χαλκαῖς ἐδέθη ὑπ αὐτῶν is not a sentence which any one would naturally write in Greek, but the sentence is natural if the translator followed his Aramaic original slavishly. If, then, this is correct, the hypothesis of a falsarius is reduced to that of an Aramaic falsarius, who intruded this verse into the Aramaic original which was conveyed down to Egypt. On the other hand, the verse in the Septuagint completes the narrative which the Massoretic text leaves unfinished. This may be used. as an argument against the authenticity of this version, as the need of completion may have suggested the mode in which the need was to be supplied. But it is also to be noted that there is present the same mixture of sign and thing signified, which, natural in a dream, is so unnatural in ordinary narration, that the falsarius who had observed the incompleteness of the Massoretic text, and had the necessary skill to supply the want, would not have increased the confusion, already manifest enough. When we turn to Theodotion, we see symptoms of trouble, "This is the vision which I Nebuchadnezzar the king had, and thou, Beltasar, tell the interpretation, because none of the wise men of my kingdom were able to show me its interpretation; but thou, Daniel, art able, because a holy spirit of God is in thee." The introduction of the Jewish name Daniel in the midst of a speech in which he is always elsewhere addressed by his Bahylonian name, is suspicious. The repetition, in this as in the Masoretic, of the original incongruity that Daniel, the head of the court magicians, is only summoned after the other magicians have proved unable to solve the mystery of this dream, is to be noted. The Peshitta here partly follows the same text as that followed by Theodotion, and partly that of the Massoretes. Like Theodotion, "Daniel" is inserted, but, following the basis of the Massoretic text in opposition to Theodotion, it has "a spirit of the holy gods." There seems no possibility of imagining the LXX. reading to have developed from the Massoretic, or vice versa. If there were any proof of Dr. C. H. H. Wright's hypothesis, that our present Daniel was a condensation of a larger work, it might be supposed that the Massoretic represented one condensation, and the LXX. another. The Septuagint at this point inserts, "And having risen early in the morning,. I summoned Daniel, the ruler of the wise men and chief of the interpreters, and related to him the dream, and he showed all the interpretation of it." In Genesis 41:1-57. we have two accounts of Pharaoh's dream, first in connection with his actual dreaming, and next in his narrating to Joseph his experience. If the original tract—from the union of several of which we imagine our book has been compiled—from which this chapter is condensed contained, like Genesis 41:1-57; two accounts of Nebuchadnezzar's vision, and the Egyptian recension followed one condensation of this tract, and the Palestinian another, the phenomena are explicable without the idea of a vague gratuitous variation, such as that of which, on the traditional view, the writer of the Septuagint has been guilty. On the ground that the Massoretic text may represent also a true text of Daniel, another fragment of the original document, we may examine it a little more closely. The king declares the dream to Daniel in a way that indicates a certain attestation of the accuracy of the report of what he had seen. "This is the dream which I Nebuchadnezzar the king saw." Then follows the command to declare the interpretation, "You are master of magicians. I have duly brought before you an accredited dream which I have had, fulfil now your office, interpret to me my dream." This much is natural. What follows is an obvious interpolation. It contradicts what has preceded, which, by implication, asserts Daniel's duty to interpret, and therefore the probability that not last, but first, would Daniel have been appealed to. It contradicts also what follows, which is a commendation of Daniel's powers, which, as known to the king, ought to have led him at once to summon him, as the Septuagint says Nebuchadnezzar did. The commendation of Daniel appears an addition to get over the difficulty, but, like many other attempts of the same kind, it fails, and really adds to the confusion.

Daniel 4:19

Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. Thus far the two main recensions are agreed. The Septuagint renders practically to the same effect as our version, only that ὑπόνοια κατέσπευδεν αὐτόν means rather "suspicions disturbed him," which is the rendering of Paulus Tellensis. There are traces in it of doublet; the rendering of the LXX. is, "And Daniel greatly marvelled, and suspicions disturbed him, and he was terrified, trembling having taken hold of him, and his visage was changed, having moved (κινήσας) his head, having been amazed one hour, he answered me in a meek voice." Theodotion and the Peshitta are at one with the Massoretic text here. It is to be noted here that the word sha'a, translated "hour," has no such definite meaning; Gesenius gives, "a moment of time," in which he is followed by Bevan, Keil, and Stuart. Ewald translates, eine Stunde, and with him agree Hitzig, Kranichfeld, Zöckler. Both the Greek versions have ὥραν, but we must bear in mind that ὥρα had not the definite meaning which we attach to "hour." Jerome renders hera. The Septuagint adds, as we have seen, somewhat grotesquely, "having moved (κινήσας) his head, he was astonished for one hour." This seems a case of "doublet," that phenomenon so frequent in the Septuagint. The Septuagint rendering, "And (δὲ) Daniel was greatly astonished, and suspicions troubled him, and, trembling having seized him, he was afraid," suggests that it is not impossible that שׂגי, "greatly," had been read instead of שׁעה, "an hour;" but the rest is not so easily explicable. There is one case of Syriasm here in the vocalization of אֶשְׁתּוֹמַם instead of אִשׁיי. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. This clause is absent from both the Greek versions, though present in the Peshitta and Vulgate. As it stands, on the one hand, it is a departure from the epistolary style, or perhaps rather the proclamative style of the earlier portion of the chapter. On the other hand, if we think this clause an interpolation, we cannot fail to note that the kindly courtesy and consideration ascribed by the interpolator to Nebuchadnezzar is utterly unlike the character of Epiphanes as manifested to the Jews. Nebuchadnezzar saw that Daniel was filled with sorrow and apprehension at the meaning he saw in the vision, and endeavours to reassure and encourage him. If the conduct of Nebuchadnezzar is unlike that which a Jew of b.c. 170 would have ascribed to him were it his intention to present in him Epiphanes under a disguise, still more unlike is the conduct of Daniel to that which certainly would have been ascribed to him had the author intend

serve thee. And that tree was exalted and neared the heaven, and its breadth (κῦτος) touched the clouds. Thou, O king, wast exalted above all men that are upon the face of the whole earth, and thine heart has been [literally, 'was'] lifted up with pride and strength over those things which pertain to the Holy One and his angels, and thy works are manifest, because thou hast laid waste the house of the living God on account of the sins of the consecrated people." The latter portion of this contains plain evidence of interpolation. Had there been anything of that sort in the original Daniel, it would not have disappeared from the Massoretic text. This addition reveals the mental attitude of the Jews of the Maccabean period to foreign oppressors. The fact that the whole atmosphere of the primitive Daniel differs so much from this is an indirect evidence of its genuineness. If one looks at the Septuagint rendering of these three verses, there seem evidences of an early origin. The first verse is clearly an instance in which the text behind the Septuagint is superior to that of the Massoretic; the latter is obviously filled out from verse 11. The statement of Nebuchadnezzar's greatness in verse 22 may be somewhat the result of paraphrase. The fifteenth verse, according to the LXX; which is paralleled by Tischeudorf with verse 19 of the Massoretic, is really another version of the preceding verses, probably slightly modified to give the resulting text the appearance of being continuous. Theodotion bears a very close resemblance to the Massoretic text, only he has κύτος, "breadth," instead of ὅρασις. The Peshitta differs but little, though still a little, from the Massoretic text. Instead of rendering, "meat for all," it has, "for all flesh." According to both recensions of the text, Daniel repeats, either in substance or with verbal exactness, the description Nebuchadnezzar had himself given of the tree of his vision, but applies it to the monarch. To us the terms of the description of Nebuchadnezzar's power are exaggerated; but we must bear in mind that the manners of an Oriental court are different from those of Western nations. It is not unlike the boastful language of Nebuchadnezzar in the Standard Inscription. The monarch's dominion was vast, but it had been given him, and that he did not recognize, and hence the judgment that came upon him.

Daniel 4:23

And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree 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. This in the beginning agrees with the text behind the Septuagint Version of Daniel 4:14. In that verse, instead of the elaborate process of cutting off branches and shaking off leaves, the Septuagint had simply, καταφθείρατε αὐτό. This confirms us in our preference of the Septuagint there. In the present instance, the Septuagint is briefer than the Massoretic text; it varies in some points, which may indicate the hand of a redactor, "And the vision which thou sawest, that an angel was sent in strength, and commanded to root the tree up and to cut it down, the judgment of God shall come upon thee." Here, again, there is nothing of "the watcher and the holy one," nothing of the belt of "iron and brass," nor of the "tree having its portion with the beasts of the field," nor that it was to be "wet with the dew of heaven." Some of these features are mentioned in the account of the vision, but are not repeated now. Theodotion agrees with the Massoretic text. The Peshitta carries the repetition yet further, and inserts, "And his heart shall be changed from the heart of 't man, and the heart of a beast shall be given him." In this the process already begun in the text of the Massoretes is carried a little further. The Vulgate agrees with the received text. Daniel rapidly notifies the principal features in the king's dream, before he proceeds to explain it.

Daniel 4:24

This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which is come upon my lord the king. The passage in the Seventy which is parallel with this is partly in the last clause of the previous verse and partly in the verse that occupies a similar place to this in the Septuagint text, "The judgments of the great God shall come upon thee, and the Most High and his angels assail thee (κατατρέχουσιν ἐπὶ σὲ)." The change of tense here indicates that the second clause is an alternative rendering, brought into the text from the margin. In this marginal note meta has been taken as "assail," and malka', "O king," has been, by transposition of the two final letters, read mela'k, "angel." Theodotion and the Peshitta agree with the Massoretic text. The respectful tone in which Daniel addresses Nebuchadnezzar in the received text is to be observed; it is utterly alien to the boastful tone Judaism was afterwards accustomed to impute to its old saints. That there is no reference to the watchers or to their decree in this is imputed to Daniel's recognition of its true source; but in the Septuagint there is nothing equivalent to the statement in verse 17. The fact that it is omitted here confirms the suspicion against it which we expressed in regard to the earlier verse.

Daniel 4:25

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. The Septuagint Version is here much briefer, and in that better, "And they shall put thee in guard, and send thee into a desert place." The Massoretic text, although it agrees with that from which Theodotion's Version, the Peshitta, and the Vulgate have been translated, is pleonastic. The Vulgate drops the causative element, and simply says, "Thou shalt eat grass like the ox, and thou shalt be wet with the dew of heaven." The Peshitta, while translating טְעַם by the aphel of 'acal—that is to say, making the meaning causative—renders צְבַע by the passive, titzṭaba; similarly Theodotion renders it. If we are to take the words of Daniel strictly, even in the Massoretic, much more if we take the Septuagint, text, he seems to have understood the dream to point, not to lycanthropy, but to an overthrow at the hands of his enemies, when they would compel him to eat grass in his distress, and, by depriving him of every shelter, force him to be wet with the dew of heaven. There is nothing to indicate that the compulsion should work within, and that by these inner scourges the messengers of the Most High would drive Nebuchadnezzar forth to the fields.

Daniel 4:26

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. The Septuagint Version here is different, and not so good as the received text, "And (as for) the root of the tree which was left and not rooted out, the place of thy throne shall be preserved to thee to a season and an hour; behold, for thee they are prepared, and they shall bring judgment upon thee. The Lord liveth in heaven, and his power is in all the earth." The last clause here is plainly a paraphrase of "the heavens do rule." "A season and an hour" is a doublet, and since it is to be observed that the phrase, "after that thou shalt have known," is omitted, we may deduce that thindda, "thou shalt know," is, by transposition of letters, read l‛iddan. Theodotion, who is usually slavish in his following of the Aramaic construction, renders here, "And because they said, Suffer the stump (φυὴν) of the roots of the tree." This suggests that in the text before Theodotion mere is omitted from למשבק (lemishbaq), and it was read לשבקו (leishbaqoo), meaning, according to the Mandaitic form of the verb, "they shall leave"—a form in accordance with the previous construction, then further altered to the second person plural. The end of the verse is also slightly different, "Until thou shalt know the heavenly power," reading here shooltan dee shemya' instead of shaltan shemya. The Peshitta renders, "till thou shalt know that power is from the heaven (min shemya)." Mr. Bevan remarks on this usage of "heavens" for "God," which he compares with the Mishna and with the New Testament. He does not observe that the difficulty all the translators have with the phrase is a proof that, when the versions were made, it was even then not a common usage; hence that its introduction here was not due to the influence of the Mishnaic Hebrew stretching back, but was owing rather to the peculiar circumstances of Daniel. Professor Bevan's reference to the New Testament is mistaken. In no case in the New Testament is οὔρανοι used for "God." Even in the Greek Apocrypha is no usage precisely equivalent. Daniel, by using the phrase he did, put himself on the same level as the heathen king—pride against the gods (ὕβρις), and of this, by implication, is Nebuchadnezzar here accused. Certainly the words of his inscriptions do not indicate anything of this sort. In fact, many of the phrases in the prayer to Marduk in the India House Inscription indicate reverent humility almost Christian. Still, these phrases might be due, to some extent, to political custom. The relation of a polytheist to his gods is a psychological enigma to a civilized monotheist. On the one hand, he recognizes his dependence on the god; on the other, he considers the god honoured by his worship, and therefore owing him certain duties in return.

Daniel 4:27

Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity. The Septuagint Version differs in this ease somewhat considerably. It connects itself with the preceding verse, "Entreat him on account of thy sins, and to purify' all thine unrighteousness in almsgiving, in order that he may give thee humility, and many days on the throne of thy kingdom, and that thou be not destroyed." This version is paraphrastic and inferior as a whole to the text of the Massoretes, but at the same time, there must have been a different text to make such a rendering possible. Theodotion is more in accordance with the Massoretic text, but also has resemblances to the Septuagint here, "Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to thee, and atone for thy sins by almsgiving, and for thine unrighteousness by mercies to the poor (πενήτων), perchance (ἵσως) God will be long-suffering to thy transgression." The last clause may be due to reading 'elaḥa' (אלחא) for 'archa (ארכא), in which case the last clause would read, "God may be for thy tranquillity." In this case Theodotion's rendering is a natural paraphrase. The Peshitta is in agreement with the received text, save that malka, "king," is left out, possibly from its resemblance to milki, "my counsel." The Vulgate rendering is, "Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be pleasing unto thee, redeem thy sins by almsgiving, and thine iniquities by mercies to the poor; perchance he will forgive (ignoscat) thy sins." This follows Theodotion so far in the last clause, but not wholly, It is to be noticed that all the versions translate צִדְקָה (tzid'qah) "almsgiving"—a late meaning, and one not present in the Massoretic here. It can only be forced upon,this passage by giving פְרַק (peraq) a meaning it never has, as Professor Bevan and Keil show it to mean "to break," and as breaking a yoke meant "setting free," it thus meant redeeming a person; but in the sense of paying a ransom for sins, it never is used, even in the Targums. There is, therefore, a wide difference between the moral standpoint of the writer of Daniel and that of his translators—so wide that the writer of Daniel does not see the possibility of his words being twisted to this meaning. In Ecclesiasticus almsgiving is made equivalent to righteousness. The writer of Daniel is on a different moral plane from Ben Sira. But more, Daniel must have been translated into Greek before Ecclesiasticus, as the whole canon was translated when the grandson of Ben Sira had come down to Egypt, and this at the latest was b.c. 135; on the critical hypothesis, not a score of years separate the text of Daniel from the translation. The courteous beginning of Daniel's speech is to be observed; he is anxious to win the king to repentance. Compare the stern, unrelenting demeanour of Elijah to Ahab, and of Elisha to Jehoram. If we compare this with the way the Jews of Talmudic times regard the memory of Titus, the Roman captor of Jerusalem, we see we are in a totally different atmosphere from that in which the Jewish folsarius of any period of Jewish history could have lived. A grand impulsive character like Nebuchadnezzar could not but at once allure and awe the young Jew, but a zealous Jew would have regarded it as derogatory to imagine this of a prophet of the Lord, and so we see the Septuagint translator drops the courteous words with which Daniel introduces his advice. Daniel looked upon the fact that the warning had been given as an evidence that there might be a place for repentance.

Daniel 4:28, Daniel 4:29

All this came upon the King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The Septuagint here has the look of a paraphrase. In continuation of the preceding verse, "Attend (ἀγάπησον) to these words, for my word is certain, and thy time is full. And at the end of this word, Nebuchadnezzar, when he heard the interpretation of the vision, kept these words in his heart" (compare with this the phrase in Luke 2:19). "And after twelve months the king walked upon the walls of the city, and went about its towers, and answered and said." The variations appear to be due to a desire to expand and explain. It seemed to the translator more natural that, after a survey of the walls and towers of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar should speak his boastful words, hence he makes the suitable changes in the verse before us; so, too, with the effect of Daniel's words on the king. The rendering of Theodotion coincides nearly with the text of the Massorites, save that haychal is translated "temple" rather than "palace"a translation which usage quite permits. The Peshitta retains the double meaning. One, of the great buildings erected by an Assyrian or Babylonian monarch was his palace, which had also the character of a temple. In the ease of the Ninevite monarchs, the walls of the palace were adorned with sculptures, portraying the principal events of the monarch's reign. This not impossibly might be the case with the palace of Nebuchadnezzar. Babylon as a city seems to have been practically rebuilt by him—his bricks are the most numerous of any found in Babylonia.

Daniel 4:30

The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? The meaning of the Septuagint rendering is the same as the above, "This is Babylon the great, which I built, and the house of my kingdom is it called, in the might of my power, to the honour of my glory." Theodotion and the Peshitta in the main agree with the received text. It is one of the characteristics of the earlier Chaldean monarchs who reigned over the small Chaldean cantons in Mesopotamia, that they named their capital city from themselves, as Bit-Dakuri and Bit-Adini; the capital of Merodach-Baladan was called after his father, Bit-Jakin. We need scarcely explain that bit represents beth, "house." In all ages an imperial power has expressed its greatness in the splen-dour of its capital, but in the case of the Babylonian Empire, Nebuchadnezzar was the empire, therefore the splendour of the city was a testimony to his glory.

Daniel 4:31, Daniel 4:32

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. 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 ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. The Septuagint rendering has many points of interest, "While the word was yet in the mouth of the king—at the end of his speech—he heard a voice out of heaven, To thee it is said, O King Nebuchadnezzar, the kingdom of Babylon has been taken from thee, and is being given to another—a man set at naught in thy house: behold, I set him in thy kingdom, and thy power and thy glory and thy delicacy he takes possession of; that thou mayest know that the God of heaven hath dominion over the kingdoms of men, and to whomsoever he willeth he shall give it. To the rising of the sun another king shall rejoice in thy house and shall possess thy glory and thy might and thy dominion." The differences between the Massoretic and Theodotion are inconsiderable. The Peshitta adds the clause, "wet with the dew of heaven," to the description of the humiliation of Nebuchadnezzar; and to the account of the supremacy of the God of heaven adds, "and raises to it the humble man." This latter clause seems like a faint echo of the more precise statement of the LXX. The Vulgate differs here only as in the former case, omitting the causative. The reference in the LXX. to a special person in the house of Nebuchadnezzar, exalted upon his throne, appears to support an idea thrown out by Lenormant. Neri-glissar, the son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar and the successor of Evil-Merodach, claims to be the son of Bel-zikir-iskun, King of Babylon, but in the list of Ptolemy there is no such name; hence Lenormant imagines that this Belzikir-iskun usurped the throne for a short while, too short to be in the canon of Ptolemy. There is no trace of such a usurpation in the contract tables. Rawlin-son's hypothesis is difficult to believe. It is that this Belzikir-iskun was king in Babylon before the fall of the Assyrian Empire, before Nabepolassar. But from the accession of Nabopolassar to the death of Evil-Merodach is sixty-five or sixty-six years. A man of the age implied was little likely to take part in a revolution or leave behind him an infant son. It is difficult to decide, but it must be admitted that Lenormant's position is at all events a possible solution of the question.

Daniel 4:33

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. The verse that is placed as parallel with this in the Septuagint differs very considerably. In the LXX. this verse is still part of the proclamation of the angel, "Early shall all these things be completed upon thee, Nebuchadnezzar, King of Baby-Ion, and nothing shall be awanting of all these things." This verse is properly without a correspondent in the Massoretic text. The next verse resumes the proclamation, "I Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon was bound seven years, and they fed me with grass as an ox. I ate from herbs of the earth." Then after a verse which Tischen-doff marks as an interpolation, but which really is a misplaced doublet, we have a continuation of Daniel 4:30 (33 Authorized Version), "And my hairs became like feathers of an eagle, and my nails like those of the lion, and my flesh and my heart were changed, and I walked naked with the beasts of the earth." The fact that this is longer than the Massoretic text is decidedly against it. It seems to be a para-phrastic rendering of a text somewhat similar to the Massoretic. On the other hand, the fact that it retains the first person makes it at least possible that the condensation of the middle portion of this chapter, according to the received text, is not resorted to in this recension. It is to be noted that only a very few words in the Septuagint necessitate any idea of condensation: only in the beginning of Daniel 4:27 Septuagint is there a change of persons. This verse is rendered by Theodotion in a way much like the Massoretic text. The first portion of the verse is an exact translation of the Aramaic, but at the end the' rendering is, "till his hairs grew like those of lions, and his malls as those of birds." The Peshitta agrees exactly with the Massoretic. One cannot help being suspicious of this assertion of the hair being like eagles' feathers, partly because the eagle is a bird, and "birds" are spoken of in the next clause of the verse, and further there appears to be a pun on the last portion of the king's name in the word used for "eagle" (nesher). The Jewish scribes were prone to have such plays on names. Early in history it occurs, as when Abigail makes use of it to David in regard to her husband (1 Samuel 25:25), "Nabal is his name, and folly is with him." This possibly is the reason for the Hebrew variation in the name given to the Babylonian Nabu-kudur-utzur. Theodotion's version shows the result of reasoning—it is a scribe's emendation. That matted hair should have an appearance which suggested the feathers of birds, is natural enough, aria the utter inattention to matters of personal cleanliness is an exceedingly common symptom in cases of insanity. This personal neglect would naturally result also in the growth of the nails, and their incurring would give them vaguely the appearance of lions' claws. We can picture the Babylonian monarch that had, like his Ninevite predecessors, been finical about his curled locks and trimmed and jewelled fingers, walking in wild nakedness so far as his shackles permitted him, with hair-matted locks, and his nails misshapen and long.

Daniel 4:34

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. If the translator of the Septuagint had the Massoretic text before him, he has gone utterly away from it, and gives us a mere paraphrase, "And after seven years I gave my soul to prayer, and besought concerning my sins at the presence of the Lord, the God of heaven, and prayed concerning mine ignorances to the great God of gods." There is another version of this verse, for this which we have given has been misplaced. The verse which appears in the proper place, though also very different from the Massoretic, is as different from that we have just given, "And at the end of seven years the time of my redemption came, and my sins and mine ignorances were fulfilled before the God of heaven, and I besought concerning my ignorances the God of gods, and behold an angel out of heaven called to me, saying, Nebuchadnezzar, serve the holy God of heaven, and give glory to the Highest; the kingdom of thy nation has been restored to thee." The latter clause has the look of leading into the following verse. One cannot but feel that there is in both the work of the paraphrast, but at the same time, he seems, in both cases, to have been working with a different text from that of the Massoretes. Theodotion and the Peshitta agree accurately with the Massoretic. The sudden gleam of intelligence that broke the spell of madness is a perfectly natural termination to an attack like that under which Nebuchadnezzar suffered. The tranquillizing effect of prayer is well known. The ascription of praise in the liturgic formula here given is not unlike what we find in the Ninevite remains. Bevan suggests as a parallel, Euripides' 'Bacchae,' where there is a recovery from madness accompanied with looking up.

Daniel 4:35

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? The rendering of the Septuagint here is very difficult to follow, from the state of confusion in which the text is. The verse that comes next in order is very short," At that time my kingdom was set up, and my glory was restored to me." This is a condensed statement of what is recorded in the following verse, and we shall consider it in that connection. The verse which succeeds suits more the conclusion of such a letter or proclamation as is here represented, so far as form goes, though the matter shows traces of exaggeration and amplification natural to the Jew. At the same time, it bears a resemblance to the last verse of this chapter, according to the Massoretes, only greatly amplified. It may thus be best to regard this verse as not present in the Septuagint text. Theodotion and the Peshitta agree with the Massoretic text. The statement here is true, but Jewish, not Babylonian, in colour. This, along with its absence from the Septuagint, leads us to believe it to be the insertion of a Jewish scribe. On the other hand, it looks like a statement in brief of what we find expanded in Isaiah 40:1-31. and elsewhere. If brevity is to be regarded as an evidence of antiquity, this passage might be taken as the more ancient. It is, however, too bald and prosaic to be the original of such an impassioned passage as that in Isaiah 40:1-31.

Daniel 4:36

At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. As we have already mentioned, the verse in the Septuagint text which agrees to this is very brief, "At that time my kingdom was set up and my glory restored to me." It may be a condensation of some independent scribe, carried to a greater degree in the one case than the other. Only from the genesis of our Daniel, as we have imagined it, it would seem more probable that the briefer forms are the more primitive, and the longer the result of the expansion to be credited to imaginative copyists. In proof of this it is to be observed that neither Theodotion nor the Peshitta exactly represents the Massoretic text. Theodotion renders, "At that time my intellect (αἱ φρένες μου) was restored to me, and came to the glory of my king-dora, and my beauty ("form," ἡ μορφή μου) returned to me, and my rulers and nobles sought me, and I was confirmed upon my kingdom, and more abundant greatness was added unto me." The Peshitta differs somewhat from this, "And when my intellect returned to me, my nobles and my great army sought me, and to my kingdom was I restored, and its great inheritance was increased to me." The differences between these two and the Massoretic text are slight compared with those that separate any one of those from the Septuagint; yet starting with the Septuagint text, the others are easily reached by slightly varying additions. The Peshitta certainly more clearly portrays what seems likely to have taken place—first, a revolution during the king's madness, and a counter-revolution to restore him when his reason returned. If, however, Nebuchadnezzar was simply confined in a portion of the palace, then his nobles, on the news of his restoration, might seek unto him. None of the texts presents quite a self-consistent representation. If we could perfectly unravel the confusion of the texts which form our present Septuagint text, we should probably find one of them nearly self-consistent.

Daniel 4:37

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. The Septuagint Version has all the appearance of an original composition by a scribe, not impossibly in imitation of the Song of the Three Holy Children, taking as its theme the subject of the verse before us, "I confess and praise the Highest, who created the heaven and the earth and the sea. He is God of gods, and Lord of lords, and King of kings, because he doeth signs and wonders, and changeth seasons and times, taking away the kingdoms of kings and setting up others instead of them. Now from this time I shall worship him, and from fear of him trembling hath taken hold of me, and all the holy ones I praise, for the gods of the nations have not power in themselves to turn away the kingdom of a king to another king, and to kill and to make alive, and to do signs and marvels great and fearful; and to change very great matters according as the God of heaven did to me, and charged to me great things. I will offer sacrifices to the Highest every day of nay reign for my life, for a savour of sweet smell before the Lord, and what is pleasing before him I shall do, and the people and my nation and the countries which are in my dominion. And as many as shall speak against the God of heaven, and as many as shall be taken saying anything, these shall I condemn to death." Several of the phrases in this short hymn—for that it rather is than a version of an Aramaic original—are derived from other portions of Scripture; e.g. "for a savour of a sweet smell before the Lord." There are traces also of the familiar phenomenon of "doublets." Theodotion and the Peshitta agree with the Massoretic text. So far as the Massoretic text represents the original Daniel, there is no evidence that Nebuchadnezzar had ceased to be a worshipper of Bel-Marduk and Nebo and Nergal. Certainly he recognizes that Jehovah is to be worshipped also. Further, it is to be admitted that Nebuchadnezzar carries his adoration very near the point of true and exclusive worship. In what he came short it may be that he yielded to the political necessities of his situation—as Naaman bowing in the temple of Rimmon. Even an autocrat like Nebuchadnezzar would be conditioned by those who served him, and after his madness he would be specially under the power of those officials who had restored him to his place.

Excursus on Nebuchadnezzar's Madness.

The events of the fourth chapter of Daniel are full of elements that have caused question from the days of Porphyry downwards. Many of these have been discussed as they occurred in the narrative. The question of the madness of Nebuchadnezzar has several features which cause it to be of interest. Some of these have been passingly treated in reference to the passages in which they are mentioned. But to a thorough understanding of the matter it is well to collect these features together and discuss it as a whole. To do so effectively, we shall have to consider

(1) the nature of the disease under which Nebuchadnezzar suffered;

(2) the length of time during which he was under it;

(3) what evidence there is in the narrative, or on the monuments, of political changes during the time he was incapacitated.

1. The disease under which Nebuchadnezzar suffered. Dr. Pusey says, "It is now conceded that the madness of Nebuchadnezzar agrees with the description of a rare sort of disease called lycanthropy, of which our earliest notice is a Greek medical writer of the fourth century after our Lord, in which the sufferer retains his consciousness in other respects, but imagines himself to be changed into some animal, and acts up to a certain point in conformity with that persuasion. Those who imagined themselves changed into wolves, howled like wolves, and (there is reason to believe, falsely) accused themselves of bloodshed." Archdeacon Rose, in the 'Speaker's Commentary,' says, "There is now no question that the disease under which Nebuchadnezzar is said to have suffered, is one of a well-known class of diseases known by such names as lycanthropy, kynanthropy, etc; according to the animal whose habits are simulated by the subject of this disease." There is no question that there was a disease that was so called: Dr. Pusey has collected proof of that. It is to be noted that all the instances he quotes are from ancient writers. It occurred also in Mediaeval times. The point that is not quite so certain is that Nebuchadnezzar had this disease.

In the first place, lycanthropy has a distinct and definite meaning in mental pathology. Those suffering from it "abandon their homes and make for the forests, that they may consort with those they imagine to be their kind; they allow their hair and nails to grow; they carry their imitation so far as to become ferocious, and mutilate and even to kill and devour children." Here we must observe that the neglect of the person, with the result of hair and nails growing, is not peculiar to that form of madness, but is really common to many varieties of mental disease. The two other characteristics are more special—the endeavour to consort with animals of the species to which the patient imagines himself to belong, and the destructive ferocity that in the form of wolf-madness, lycanthropy, properly so called, led to cannibalism. Of neither of these symptoms have we any indubitable evidence in the narrative. In regard to the first, of Nebuchadnezzar it is certainly said (verses 15, 23) that "his portion" should" be with the beasts of the field;" verse 25, "Thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field;" but here there is nothing to indicate that Nebuchadnezzar did this out of a mad overmastering longing. Rather, the very opposite is implied by the statement (verses 25, 32)," They shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling," etc. So in verse 33 it is said, "And he was driven from men." The question may be said to turn on the force of the word "they." It certainly may mean that the angels of God, as avenging spirits, might drive Nebuchadnezzar from men, and that his longing to consort with animals may have been the scourge that drove him, but that is not said or implied. It may have been the members of his own household that so drove him forth directly, or it may have been the indirect result of the cruel treatment intended to be curative. It may be urged that the statement, "Let a beast's heart be given him," implies this longing to consort with animals. In the first place, "heart," לְבַב (lebab), among the Shemites does not, as among Occidentals, mean the longing appetitive part of our nature, but really the spirit. In the next place, the reading in the Septuagint is quite different; it is not the "heart," לְבַב (lebab), but the "body," σῶμα, reading בְשַׂר (besar) instead of לְבַב. (lebab).

Indeed, when we turn to the Septuagint, we find a total want of all this appearance of abandoning house and home. In the statement of the dream (verse 11, LXX.), "And it [the tree] was dragged and torn out, and in brazen fetters and shackles was it bound with them." Again, in the interpretation (verse 18, LXX.), "And they shall put thee in guard, and send thee to a desert place." When we turn to the fulfilment of the dream (verse 25. LXX.), we find, "And the angels of heaven shall drive thee (διώ ξονταί σε) seven years, and thou shalt not be seen nor speak with any man; and thou shalt eat grass as an ox, and thy pasture shall be from the herb of the field." Again (verses 27, 28. LXX.), "I was bound for seven years, and they fed me with grass as an ox, and my hairs became like eagles' feathers, and my nails like lions' claws, and my flesh and my heart were changed, and I walked naked among the beasts of the earth."

The more I studied this, the less I was satisfied with the all-lint universal decision that Nebuchadnezzar suffered under lycanthropy. Having a friend a specialist in mental disease, I submitted the case to him, giving him, in addition to what he found in his English Bible, the version or' the Septuagint. He is eminently qualified to judge all questions of mental disease. David Yellowlees, Esq; M.D; is head of one of the largest lunatic asylums in Scotland, Gartnavel, near Glasgow. He has been President of the Medico-Psychological Association of Great Britain; is Lecturer on Insanity in the University of Glasgow; and has had over thirty years' experience in the treatment of mental disease. He kindly wrote me the following, which he has permitted me to publish:—
"Nebuchadnezzar's illness was not lycanthropy; it was an attack of acute mania, which recovered, as such attacks usually do if uncomplicated, in seven months.

"Acute mania, in its extreme forms, exhibits all kinds of degraded habits, such as stripping off and tearing of clothes, eating filth and garbage of all sorts, wild and violent gesticulations, dangerous assaults, howling noises, and utter disregard of personal decency. The patient often is liker a wild animal than a human being. These symptoms merely show the completeness of the aberration, and do not at all indicate a hopeless condition. On the contrary, they are seen most frequently in the cases which recover.
"The king was apparently treated as kindly as the enlightenment of the times permitted—bound when injuring himself or others, taken to a desert place away from other men, and allowed a mad freedom, in which his attacks found relief and eventual recovery."
In another communication, Dr. Yellowlees says, "The 'seven times' certainly did not mean seven years for recovery from that form of insanity; that is, acute mania would be most unlikely after so long a time. Seven months is a far more likely period."

2. This leads us to consider the second question—the length of time during which Nebuchadnezzar was under this malady. The phrase which states the duration occurs four times—verses 16 (13), 23 (20), 25 (22), 32 (29)—and is always the same, "till seven times pass over him (thee)." שִׁבְעָה עַדָּנִין יַחְלְפוּן עֲלוֹהִי (sheebe‛ah ‛iddaneen yahelephoon ‛alohee). The question turns on the sense to be given to ‛iddan. This word is found thirteen times in this book—nine times besides the four times in this chapter. We find it three times in the second chapter, where it means the time during which certain planetary and stellar influences were at work. This naturally suggests the signs of the Zodiac and the phases of the moon, and therefore a month, though the probability is that the period in the king's mind was much shorter. The ruling phases of the moon would make a fourfold or threefold division not improbable, while the positions of the planets in the various astrological houses make it more likely that a day rather than even a month is meant. We find the word next in the following chapter (verses 5 and 15), "At what time (‛iddan) ye hear," etc. Here it means a point of time, and in the other verse (7), where the phrase occurs we have זִמְנָא (zimena'), which usually means a set, fixed point of time. We find it again in the seventh chapter. In the twelfth verse, after the destruction of the fourth beast, the other beasts continue for "a season and time," זְמַן וְעִדָּן (zeman ve‛iddan); it here means a space of time totally indefinite. In the twenty-fifth verse the word in question occurs three times in the phrase, "a time, times, and a dividing of time." Here it has been assumed to mean "a year," and this is certainly not improbable for this particular case; but nothing can be drawn from this as to the sense of the word elsewhere. So far as the usage of this book is concerned, we can say the word ‛iddan means a space of time, the length of which is determined by the context. When we pass into the Targums, we find the same, or, if possible, even greater freedom of use. It is used for the time of old age in Psalms 71:9; in Ecclesiastes 3:1-22. for "the times." There is a phrase, ‛iddan be‛iddan ("time in times"), which is commonly understood to mean a year. This would render it probable that the word was originally some period much shorter than a year, probably a month; thus Genesis 24:55, where we render, according to the Massoretic, "a few days, at least ten." Onkelos renders, ‛iddan be‛iddan 'o ‛asrah yarheen ("time in time, or ten months"), where the word certainly means "months." The usage of the Peshitta is much the same. Gaon Saadia would assign to ‛iddan here the sense of "month;" in this he is followed by Lenormant. Notwithstanding the objections of critics and lexicographers, we venture to follow these two authorities the more readily that the critics have assigned no reason why we should not do so.

3. Is there any trace in the inscriptions surviving to us to throw light on this mysterious event? At one time it was supposed that in the Standard Inscription of Nebuchadnezzar we had a distinct reference to this period of madness. As at first translated, Nebuchadnezzar declared that for four years he did not occupy himself in building. A series of further negative sentences followed. More careful study and more accurate rendering have removed that misconception. From the nature of the Standard Inscription, it was a priori unlikely that anything of the kind supposed should have been found in it. It is a record of the various buildings, etc; he had constructed for the honour of the gods and the beauty of his capital. The dates of the erection of these edifices or the construction of these canals is net given; so the fact of years in which nothing was done is not necessarily noticeable. Lenormant makes another suggestion. When he ascends the throne, after the murder of his brother-in-law, Evil-Merodach, we find Neriglissar (Nergalsharezer) claiming that his father, Bil-zikir-iskun,£ had been King of Babylon. Lenormant's theory is that Bil-zikir-iskun reigned' while Nebuchadnezzar was thus incapacitated by madness. Certainly, between the accession of Nabo-polassar in b.c. 625, to the death of Evil-Merodach in b.c. 559, there is no sovereign but the three members of the one dynasty. Rawlinson ('Five G rear Monarchies') places him immediately before Nabopolassar, and reads his name Nebu-sum-iskun. But as deposition meant death, this would imply that his son—Neriglissar—even if only an infant, at the death of his father, would be at least sixty-five years of age at the death of Evil-Merodach. This is not an age when men engage in conspiracies. But more, he leaves behind him an infant son. While not impossible, this is an unlikely solution. If, then, he did not reign before Nabo-polassar, there must have been some interval in which he held the throne while the legitimate occupant was incapacitated by disease or distance from the capital It was not during the interval between the death of Nabopolassar and the accession of Nebuchadnezzar, because Berosus tells us of the rapid march Nebuchadnezzar made through the desert from Syria to reach Babylon before any usurpation took place. It did not take place between the death of Nebuchadnezzar and the accession of Evil-Merodach, for, from the contract tables, there seems to have been no interval of uncertainty. Bel-zikir-iskun may have, so M. Lenormant thinks, usurped the throne during the illness of Nebuchadnezzar. If the interval were less than a year, Ptolemy might not insert the name in his chronicle. Against this theory is the fact that throughout the whole of Nebuchadnezzar's reign there never is seven months without a contract preserved to us, dated by the years of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. This is not absolutely conclusive, because some of the contract tables, after the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus, are still dated by the reign of Nabunahid. We are compelled to abandon the position that we have any trace of this madness. We have an analogous case in the history of Nabunahid; for a long period, not less than five years, he was unable to take part in the business of the empire. Meantime, there is no indication in the contract tables that anything is wrong. The annals of Nabunahid reveal to us the fact that the king s son was acting monarch; but had these not come down to us, we should never have known of any incapacity befalling this monarch. Bel-zikir-iskun may have acted as monarch during Nebuchadnezzar's illness, and this may have been the fact that enabled Neff-glissar to assert his father to have been King of Babylon.

It is not impossible that Nebuchadnezzar's decree may yet turn up from the rubbish of ages.


Daniel 4:1-3

The testimony of experience.

It is interesting to observe that the account of Nebuchadnezzar's great humiliation comes from the lips of the king himself, without a word of comment by his servant Daniel. While the conduct of the prophet teaches us to regard the chastisement of other people with a similar courtesy of reserve, that of the king should remind us of the duty and utility of frankly confessing the lessons of our own experience.


1. Nebuchadnezzar had been a haughty despot. The confession of deep humiliation by such a man is evidence of a great change of spirit. The moral value of humility must be measured

(1) by the strength of the natural disposition to pride, as this varies greatly in different temperaments; and

(2) by the temptations of a man's station in society. To some self-abasement is familiar and natural. To others it brings keen agony. In the latter case it is a wonderful result of repentance.

2. Nebuchadnezzar had defied the God of the Jews. (Daniel 3:15.) To recognize him as the true God, who held the king's destiny in his hand, was another proof of a great change. It would have been much if Nebuchadnezzar had privately trusted in the true God. But his repentance is confirmed by this public confession.

3. Nebuchadnezzar had been a selfish tyrant. He now sinks his self-interest in concern for the glory of God. We never truly and perfectly repent until we renounce self, and give ourselves up to a pure desire to glorify God.

II. THE TESTIMONY OF EXPERIENCE IS AN EVIDENCE OF SPIRITUAL TRUTHS WHICH WE SHOULD CAREFULLY OBSERVE FOR OURSELVES AND GRATEFULLY OFFER TO OTHERS. The recognition of Divine truths in the passage before us is specially valuable, because it is not based on abstract grounds, but is derived from personal experience. It does not come from an inspired Hebrew prophet, but from a heathen king, and it derives a special force from this circumstance, because the spiritual teaching of Scripture thus finds an echo in a most unlikely quarter.

1. Ignorance of Divine truths on speculative ground gave force to the testimony. There can be no self-deceit in such cases.

2. Prejudice against these truths, after it was overcome, increased the force of the testimony. The king was not accustomed to bow before any providential power. His recognition of this is the more significant. It disposes of any suspicion of hypocrisy.

3. The depth of the experience gave intensity to the testimony. Much religious language sounds hollow because it is not verified by experience. As we realize truth in our lives, we see and feel it with a new power, and then we have at once the clear light of personal knowledge and the strong earnestness of personal feeling to enable us to declare it to others (1 John 1:1).


1. The power of God is seen in his successful performance of his will when the greatest force is set against it, and the greatest difficulties lie in its way, as in the overthrow of the might of Nebuchadnezzar, and the more wonderful restoration of him from his insanity (verses 29-36).

2. The wisdom of God is seen when mysteries of providence are interpreted by later experience, as when the king saw the purpose and meaning of God's strange dealings with him (verse 36).

3. The truth of God is seen in his keeping his word. The dream-prophecy was fulfilled (verse 28).

4. The righteousness of God is seen in the ultimate justice of his chastisements and their good results, as in the deserved punishment of Nebuchadnezzar, and the final good this wrought in him (verse 25).

IV. A RIGHT UNDERSTANDING OF THE MUTABILITY OF EARTHLY THINGS WILL HELP US TO RISE TO FAITH IN THE ETERNITY OF THINGS DIVINE. Nebuehadnezzar now sees that "God's kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation." Before this the king had been warned not to trust in the perpetuity of earthly monarchies, but to see that these must give way before an everlasting kingdom (Daniel 2:44). God sends us changes and disappointments that we may not rest in the temporal and transitory (Hebrews 12:27); and he sometimes reveals, through these changes, principles and purposes which run up into the eternal.

Daniel 4:28-33

The king's madness.

I. INSANITY IS SOMETIMES THE DIRECT RESULT AND NATURAL PENALTY OF WRONG CONDUCT. Although the physician may rightly detect here the symptoms of brain-disease, the religious teacher may go further, and see in this brain-disease the fruits of moral faults. Insanity often shows itself as much in moral as in intellectual aberration—especially in its earlier stages. In many cases it can be traced back to the indulgence of animal instincts, passions, and self-will, to the neglect of higher restraining influences.

1. Irregular self-will tends to insanity. Nebuchadnezzar was a tyrant whose merest caprice became a law for his vast empire. If such a man has no moral principles to guide him, the inordinate indulgence of his wild will must be so contrary to the natural course of life that his mind will be in danger of losing its balance. Lunacy is often only the full development of the vice that throws off all restraints. He who would keep his mind in perfect sanity should learn to yield his will to a higher will.

2. Inordinate self-conceit tends to insanity. The king's madness came upon him when he was elated with vanity (Daniel 4:30). Insane people are commonly inclined to dwelt on their grievances or their imagined greatness, and this absurd habit may often be traced back to an over-sensitiveness or an undue elation with regard to their own worthiness. It is never healthy to think much about ourselves. Mental soundness is best secured by self-forgetting activity and concern for the interests of the large world around us. The habit of introspection and the indulgence in a too subjective religious experience are causes of religious insanity. They who incline in this direction should remember our Lord's caution (Matthew 10:39).

II. WHEN BRUTAL PASSIONS HAVE BEEN THE RULING POWERS IN LIFE, THE HUMILIATION OF THE BRUTE MAY BE A REASONABLE RETRIBUTION. Nebuchadnezzar had shown himself to be governed by passions which can only be described as brutal, and yet he had been honoured with little less than Divine worship. Here was the greatest inconsistency between desert and experience. Frequently this inconsistency is preserved all through a man's life, because judgment is deferred. But whenever judgment is given, it must be expected that, while the man of spiritual character will be exalted to a state of fitting honour, the man of brutal passion will be put down to one of brutal degradation; for it is just that there should be harmony between the outer and the inner life. Perhaps this is implied in St. Paul's teaching about "the spiritual body" (1 Corinthians 15:44), which may be just the most exact expression and closest-fitting vesture of the soul. The principle of justice which underlies the fantastic Oriental doctrine of the transmigration of souls may thus be exemplified in the various ranks and orders of bodily life in the future world. He who would claim to rank as superior to the brute creation must justify his claim by a corresponding elevation of conduct.

III. THERE IS A SPIRITUAL INSANITY IN WHICH MEN RENOUNCE THE PRIVILEGES AND DUTIES OF THEIR HIGHER NATURE, AND LIVE AS IF THEY HAD NOTHING ABOVE THE ANIMAL IN THEM. The degradation of Nebuchadnezzar ends its spiritual counterpart in the voluntary behaviour of multitudes. They have human souls, yet they live as though they should perish like mere animals. They are made in the image of God, yet they act after the manner of brutes. They have spiritual faculties which they blind and deaden with animal passions. If we were not so familiar with such people, and did not all of us, more or less, share their faults, it would be difficult not to regard them as the worst of madmen. While we shudder at the calamity of Nebuchadnezzar, should we not be far more appalled at the awful depravity of so large a part of the human world which calmly accepts a fate in all moral respects its equivalent?

Daniel 4:37 (last clause)

Pride humiliated.


1. As all earthly things are changeable, it is foolish to place our trust in the permanence of any. Yet there is a tendency to infer that because all is well, all will remain well, as though the mere existence of prosperity were a guarantee of its permanence. This may result from a misapplication of the true principle that the future is determined by the present, and with a certain law of similarity—like producing like (Galatians 6:7, Galatians 6:8). But if so, it is forgotten that outward prosperity is a very superficial thing, and that the real life and its outgoings lie deeper and may be preparing its very opposite beneath the shallow pleasure of the hour. Therefore to assure one's self for the future, it is necessary to have some deeper and larger ground to rest upon than the mere outside aspect of affairs.

2. Happiness depends far more upon the condition of the inner life than upon any external circumstances. Nebuchadnezzar thought himself a beast of the field. With this idea in his mind, all his resources counted as nothing in respect to his, comfort. To a blind man the world is dark. A gloomy mood throws a shadow over the brightest scene. The rich and discontented man is miserable, while the poor man will be happy so long as he is contented, because happiness depends not upon possession, but upon satisfaction. Therefore it is useless to be assured that our outward affairs are safely prosperous, unless we have also the assurance of peace of mind and inward gladness.

II. THE FITTING PUNISHMENT OF PRIDE IS HUMILIATION. There is a just and natural association of certain sins with corresponding forms of punishment; e.g. the luxurious Dives tormented with a burning tongue; the man with one idle talent deprived of his talent (cf. Hosea 8:7). This conception is worked out in Dante's 'Inferno.' So he who will not humble himself shall be humiliated against his will. Pride prepares its own fall

(1) by making its possessor careless and self-confident;

(2) by disturbing the sobriety of his judgment with the giddiness of self-elation;

(3) and by rousing the jealousy and envy of rivals and subordinates.

III. THIS PUNISHMENT OF PRIDE, THOUGH SEVERE, IS NOT HOPELESS. The tree is to be hewn down, but the stump and roots are to be left (Daniel 4:15). So Nebuchadnezzar was to suffer only for a limited period—seven "times" (Daniel 4:25). When prophets threatened the overthrow of the Jews, they promised that this should not be total—a remnant should be spared (Isaiah 1:9; Jeremiah 15:11); nor final—the people should be restored (Isaiah 52:1-10). Even the severest calamities are tempered with mercy and relieved of despair (Amos 3:12; Habakkuk 3:2).

IV. THE OBJECT OF THE HUMILIATION OF PRIDE IS NOT VENGEANCE, BUT SALVATION. The spite which seeks pleasure in the shame of humiliated pride is itself a fruit of sinful pride, and can find no place in the heart of God. Nor is the feeling of complacency which arises in us from the contemplation of the "poetic justice" this exemplifies, a true image of God's feeling in the humbling of proud men. All God's purposes are at the root, love. He humbles the proud man because he loves him, and for his good.

1. This humiliation is beneficial in making a man feel the folly and sin of pride.

2. It is helpful in making him feel his own insufficiency and the need of higher grounds of confidence than are to be found in his own merits and resources. Nebuchadnezzar was led to recognize the true God, and humble himself before into with faith and worship, and thus his salvation was accomplished through his humiliation. So the salvation of mankind is effected by the humiliation of its representative Christ, and through the self-humiliation of each individual when he takes up his cross and follows Christ in the narrow path of self-denial.


Daniel 4:1-3

The comeliness of confession.

"To me it seemed comely to declare the signs and the wonders that God Most High for me hath wrought" (Daniel 4:2 amended translation). The history of the king's insanity is told, not by the Prophet Daniel, but in a state paper, under the hand of the king, and quoted by the prophet. The edict is true to human nature and to the king's character. The following motives may have influenced him:

1. Gratitude.

2. Conscience. It was right to admit sin and to recount its judgments.

3. A certain complacency in being the object of Divine dealing.

4. A self-respectful independence of the opinion of the crowd.

From the text occasion may be taken to discourse on the propriety of recounting the Lord's dealings with ourselves.

I. THE RECOUNTING should be marked by the following characteristics.

1. The subject-matter should be of public concern. The facts should either be already public, or such as may with propriety be made public property. There are deep things of the human spirit, which, to recount, would be good neither for ourselves nor for others. In Nebuchadnezzar's case, the facts were notorious, though it rested with him to exhibit them in a Divine light.

2. The audience may then be one whole circle. The largeness of our circle depends in part on our social elevation. The higher our standing, the larger the number who know us. Not entirely our social elevation; for much will depend on our moral elevation. Thomas Wright, the prison philanthropist; Levi Coffin, who was "the underground railway" by which slaves passed from misery to Canada,—were names known all over the world. All who had any knowledge of the king were to hear what the Lord had done for his soul (see verse 1).

3. The tone should be kindest. "The royal style which Nebuchadnezzar makes use of has nothing in it of pomp or fancy; but is plain, short, and unaffected, 'Nebuchadnezzar the king.'"

4. Integrity should pervade the recital. It should constitute one whole. God's rebukes, as well as his favours, should come into our account, even though humiliating to ourselves, if the good of others and the glory of God demand it. Some striking instances of such recital of sins and the Father's chastisement, will be found in the narrative of his early life by George Muller, in 'The Lord's Dealings.'

5. The motive should be God. Certainly not our own glory—not self, nor others, save subordinately.

II. THE PROPRIETY OF IT. Such a recounting of Divine dealing with us is:

1. Good for ourselves. In the case of the king, he was led

(1) to admire the Divine acts;

(2) to infer the Divine rule.

2. Salutary for others.

3. Conducive to the Divine glory and the extension of the Divine kingdom.—R.

Daniel 4:4-18, Daniel 4:20-27

Human greatness, its rise, fall, and restoration.

"Behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great" (Daniel 4:10). The subject naturally suggested by the text is that of human greatness, its rise, its decay, its restoration. It should be remembered, even in the first entertainment of the theme, that this greatness may inhere in man individual as in man collective. To guide our thoughts, especially in its practical applications, it will be well, then, to keep distinctly before us the concept man, and also that other—the nation. The applications will then be rich and manifold. A striking illustration of the greatness of a nation is to be found in the slow growth and present position of Great Britain. That tree has indeed "reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth." The pre-eminence of the Anglo-Saxon race, including now the people of the United States, is a still grander illustration. Another hint—that we may not lose ourselves in the grandiloquent and miss the practical, observe that greatness is, after all, only relative, that all humanity is as nothing compared with the majesty of the Eternal. A workman may be relatively great in the workshop; a child in the school; therefore there is no limit to the applications of the subject. Apply it to the low levels of common life, as well as to the highest,


1. Its dependence. The tree and the man are alike in this—in being living things. Now, life at first is from God; and is ever sustained by effluence from him. The tone of the king (Daniel 4:30) was that of moral madness (see also Daniel 4:17).

2. Its growth. The tree from its tiny seed. The law of man's life is that he must grow. The tendency of man (both individual and collective) is to growth. He ought to be so indefinitely. The man that ceases to grow at forty or fifty, mentally, morally, is dead. The young, aspiring spirit is to be retained to life's last hour. Looked at on the reverse side, no greatness is instantly attained. Neither man nor nation vaults into the throne of moral eminence. Wait, but actively wait, not passively, as the child, of mere circumstance.

3. Its majesty. The tree majestic. Man majestic. So a nation. Let not false humility preach otherwise. The grander our conceptions of man, the higher our adoration of his Maker. Even sin cannot hide the original grandeur. A temple, albeit in ruins.

4. Its loneliness. Eminence ever lonely. The spires above the city. The snow-domes above the lower mountain ranges. As man rises, he retains, or he should retain, sympathy with all below; but he himself rises into a region where the lower sympathies do not follow him (see Robertson on 'The Loneliness of Christ;' and. Dr. Caird on Isaiah 63:3, in volume of ' Sermons').

5. Its conspicuousness. The tree was seen from every part of the far horizon. The more eminent man or nation, the more the observed of all observers. The attendant responsibility, therefore—virtue more influential, vice more pestilential.

6. Its use. (Daniel 4:12.) Literal pressing of the figure here impossible. Keep to the commanding central thought, that human greatness must not have self for its object. The eminence of man is for beneficence. We live for others, and in so doing find our richest life. One might be tempted to say that in this we contrast with God; but not so. All things, indeed, flow in upon God as their object, but only that he may again give himself, in the grandeur of his love, to the universe.


1. The failure. In the dream-parable of the tree, nothing is said of the failure; but look at the man, Nebuchadnezzar. To appreciate his usual delinquency we must take account of the extraordinary character of his public works; the aim, pitilessly pursued, of his own aggrandizement; the consequent sacrifice of the wealth, labour, comfort, happiness, and lives of his people. The eminence of the great king was not for use and benediction.

2. The judgment.

(1) Its time. In the very height of the king's prosperity. "I was at rest in my house, and green in my palace" (Daniel 4:4). We do not know the exact date, but we know the time in relation to the rest of the king's life. At rest in domestic relations; no serious solicitude about public affairs; conquests achieved; great buildings finished.

(2) Its cause. Insist on the truth that the doom of men and nations is morally conditioned. Illustrations are more than abundant in modern life.

(3) Its source. Observe: the "watchers" here are not necessarily angels; for they are not objectively real, but subjective in the dream. Still, they point to a reality in heaven.

(a) Intelligence there. The watcher intellectually was characterized by a large, piercing, sleepless eye.

(b) Holiness. This the moral characteristic. "A holy one."

(c) Arbitrament there.

(d) Power there. "Cried aloud." The execution certain (Daniel 4:17).

3. The decay. (Daniel 4:15.) Compare parables of the talent and of the pound.


1. The subject remains. The man indestructible (Daniel 4:15). The moral possibilities abide.

2. The conditions of restoration.

(1) The reawakening of the consciousness of God. (Daniel 4:34.)

(2) Penitence.

(3) Bearing practical fruit. (Daniel 4:27.)

(4) The conditions accepted on the ground of Christ's atonement.

The atonement, so far as its efficacy goes, is a perpetual fact. The Lamb has been "slain from the foundation of the world." Knowledge of the atonement not absolutely necessary to those blessed by it. It stands as an objective ground, justifying Divine benedictions on the unworthy. The providence of God is the atonement in action. The moral government of God is, since the Fall, mediatorial, always and every where.—R.

Daniel 4:19, Daniel 4:26, Daniel 4:27

Reproof by the saintly.

"Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him" (verse 19). "Astonied for one hour." This is not quite accurate. The meaning is that Daniel was so troubled, so overcome, that he remained for some time without uttering a word. Perhaps he stood gazing at the king in mute amazement and sorrow. At length the king himself broke the distressing silence, encouraging the prophet to cast away all fear of consequences, and to tell the meaning, whatever it might be. With much trembling, doubtless, in a tone of deep respect, with fidelity softened by tenderness, Daniel proceeded to point out the meaning—the king's sin and the king's doom. This passage in the history suggests much as to the giving and receiving of reproof. We are our brothers' keepers, but it is to be feared that this duty of spiritual guardianship is one very much neglected. Let us first look at things from the point of view of—

I. THE BEPROVED. There are many difficulties in approaching a man with even the most necessary reproof, most of which were present in this case of the king. A sinner is like a fort surrounded by many lines of entrenchment. The reprover is quite conscious of the strength of the moral fortification, and is oft deterred from his duty. The reproved is ready to repel reproof by virtue of:

1. Self-love. "Most quick, delicate, and constant of all feelings."

2. Pride. The reprover seems to assume the office of both lawgiver and judge. But what right this superiority?

3. Difference in social rank. It matters not whether, as in this case, the reproved be of superior rank or of inferior. If the former, the reproved resents the audacity; if the latter, what he is pleased to call the patronage.

4. Absence of moral aspiration. The reproved does not really desire to be better than he is.

5. Contrariety of judgment. The reproved doubts the principle upon which you are proceeding; e.g. you expostulate with a man on the sin of gambling; but he disputes your premiss, viz. that there is wrong in gambling. There is no sin or vice which some men will not be found to defend. Nebuchadnezzar may have considered all his oppressions of the poor, etc; as quite within his kingly right.

6. Suspicion of the reprover's motive.

II. THE REPROVER—his tone and spirit. He should be characterized by:

1. Sincere and simple sympathy for the man. In this respect Daniel was perfect.

2. Grief over the moral position.

3. Sorrow for the consequences.

4. Fidelity.

5. Courtesy. Note the tone of verses 19, 27. Daniel was mindful of his relation to his king.

6. Hopefulness. Daniel gave counsel simple, comprehensive, direct. And then expresses a large hope, "If it may be," etc. (verses 26, 27). Some elements in—


1. It was solicited. An immense advantage.

2. Based on adequate knowledge. Nothing can be more paralyzing to a would-be reprover than to find that he is proceeding either on false or unproved assumptions.

3. Strong by authority of truth. "In presenting admonitory or accusatory truth, it should be the instructor's aim that the authority may be conveyed in the truth itself, and not seem to be assumed by him as the speaker of it." "One man, a discreet and modest one (and not the less strong for that), shall keep himself as much as he can out of the pleading, and press the essential virtue and argument of the subject. Another makes himself prominent in it, so that yielding to the argument shall seem to be yielding to him. His style, expressly or in effect, is this: 'I think my opinion should have some weight in this case;' 'These arguments are what have satisfied me;' 'If you have any respect for my judgment,' etc. So that the great point with him is not so much that you should be convinced, as that he should bare the credit of convincing you."

4. Well-timed. "The teller of unpleasing truths should watch to select favourable times and occasions (mollia tempora fandi) when an inquisitive or docile disposition is most apparent; when some circumstance or topic naturally leads without formality or abruptness; when there appears to be in the way the least to put him (the person reproved) in the attitude of pride and hostile self-defence" For aught we know, Daniel may have had it on his mind for a long time to speak to the king; at length the day of opportunity dawned.


1. The reproof was not at once successful. For a year more (verse 29) the king seems to have gone on, in the same spirit, to do the same deeds.

2. But was so finally. (Verse 34.) When reproof had been emphasized by judgment. The memory, then, of Daniel's counsel.—R.

Daniel 4:28-37

Revelation in the world of soul.

"Is not this great Babylon, that I have built?" (verse 30). in approaching the kernel of this remarkable history, many matters would have, by way of introduction, to be set in a true light. They would all fall under these three heads:

1. Confirmations of Bible history from the science of medicine.

2. From the probabilities of the case.

3. From secular history. (See Exposition above; and 'Daniel, Statesman and Prophet,' R.T.S; where they are given in full.)

I. THE TOOL. The very essence of sin is self-centredness, which ignores our relations with others and the attendant duties, and which blots out God. The atheism of selfishness may be only practical, but also speculative. When the latter, it is sure to be also the former. The idolater of self:

1. Confines his vision to the material. So with the king on the roof of his palace; his eye swept palace, city, land, but saw only the material magnificence. His heart was of the world, worldly.

2. Misjudges greatness. Not bulk, not material wealth, not splendid show, constitute a nation's greatness. The elements of greatness are ever moral. As with a nation, so with an individual. A nation may be small, and yet clothed upon with moral majesty. On the other side, a nation may be small (e.g. Monaco) and vile. The two things are not commensurate in any way—material size and grandeur of spirit. Some nations, i.e. constituents of nations, need to lay the lesson very much to heart.

3. Makes self the centre of the universe. Babylon was as the palace of the kingdom. The kingdom revolved around the capital, and all around the proud personality of the king.

4. ignores God. All below and around the man lies in light, but seen through the coloured and distorted medium of selfishness. All above is hidden by dense mist and cloud; as of ten, in mountain regions, the snow-clad pinnacles and the serenity of heaven are absolutely invisible. God is unseen, unrecognized. Note the sin of this in the king. We are too likely to think that where God's clearest revelation through Christ is not, no light is. We underrate the light of natural religion. God moves without witness. To the king testified nature, experience, reason, the inner light. Christ in all these (John 1:9).

II. ITS DETHRONEMENT. Self usurped the throne in the moral realm, in the heart and life of man, and so from that throne self was hurled as by a thunderbolt. Observe, the ruin of the doomed was:

1. Stayed. Did not come at once on the sin. But warning and counsel at the lips of Daniel. Then a year's delay. Opportunity' for penitence. Misused. The patience of God.

2. Sudden. "While the word," etc.; "The same hour," etc. (verses 31-33). Whilst the king was adoring his own shadow, the phantom melted into vacancy. Striking picture of what oft occurs under the moral government of God—long respite—at length sudden and overwhelming calamity.

3. Utter. "The world recedes, it disappears," but no heaven opens on his eyes, no ears "with sounds seraphic ring." The world went; and down fell the self-idolater into a temporal hell. (Note all the particulars, in light of the text, illustrated by all we know of this form of insanity.)

4. Strictly related to the sin. As always. The deification of self and so the prostration of self. Occasion might well be taken to read off such lessons as these:

(1) The obligation of gratitude for reason—its gift and continuance.

(2) The duty of sympathy for the imbecile and insane. To be expressed practically, by prayer and contribution.

(3) That the causes of insanity can be demonstrated to be, in the vast majority of cases, moral; e.g. vanity, care in excess, alcohol, violent passion of any kind, specially the many and various breaches of the seventh commandment.

III. THE ENTHRONEMENT OF GOD. We may discourse on this by putting it in this way: we may mark the gradual steps of the return of God subjective to the throne in man. God objective—i.e. in his reality and power—is never off the throne. But he may be subjectively cast down in the thoughts and sentiments of men.

1. God remains in the mind, animating recognition. "Not even an extreme form of mania interferes with the consciousness of personal identity, of the soul's relation to God, and therefore does not abate the power to pray. Rather, perhaps, is it to be believed that in many cases the deepest and truest nature of man, his religious nature, is brought into high and brilliant relief".

2. God recognized. "Lifted up mine eyes unto heaven." This is the recognition of God. The enthronement of God. The returning conscious recognition of God marks the advent of moral sanity.

3. Reason returns to the throne with God.

4. And with reason, an admirable twin. All that makes life worth living—conviction of the existence of God; of the everlastingness of his blessed rule; of the comparative insignificance of any man; of the universality of his empire; of the resistlessness of his might—that "everything which God does is well done" (verse 37); that "those that walk in pride he is able to abase;"—add to these convictions that there came back, with reason, brightness of outer life and the joy of fellowship with men. Note: Afflictions last till they have done their work—and then no longer.—R.


Daniel 4:1-3

Royal witness for God.

Even kings learn the humiliating lesson at last that they are but men. As a counterpoise to their advantages, there is, on their side, this great disadvantage, viz. that their minds are singularly impervious to appeals from God. A drawback this which more than counterweighs all their privilege.

I. GOD'S BEST GIFTS ARE OFTEN CONVEYED TO MEN THROUGH PAINFUL CHANNELS, God "causeth his sun to shine on the evil and the good. He sendeth rain on just and unjust alike." So with earthly riches, honour, rank, lame. These gifts betoken no special favour of the Highest. They are of so little worth that God gives them in abundance to his foes. But his best gifts are obtained only through penitence, self-denial, suffering—both vicarious and personal. Job's wealth came, at the first, almost as an accident, and it exposed him to the envy and malice of Satan. If he had lived and died in his luxurious ease, the world would never have heard of him. But suffering wrought in him patience, submission, and faith. This was wealth which entered into his character, and abides with him still. The poor kingdoms of earth may be gained by the accident of birth, or by the mere chances of diabolic war; but the everlasting kingdom can only be reached through soul-tribulation. "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered."

II. GOD'S BEST GIFTS ARE INTENDED TO REVEAL HIMSELF TO THE SOUL. These gifts, when rightly estimated, are prodigies of skill and mirrors of Divine love. If God may be seen in his material works, he can be yet more clearly seen in his gracious gifts to men. Every one of these is a love-token, bearing on it the impression of his heart. Nebuchadnezzar had been wont to think that his royal good fortune was the highest good he possessed; but now he is led into the dark school of suffering, and made to learn his folly. Now he learns that God's gifts of mind, reason, memory, speech, are far nobler than royal dignities, and that for the creation and preservation of these he is indebted to the God of heaven. Further, he is made to learn that there is a higher King than himself, and that to know and love God is the loftiest good of man. Jesus Christ is God's best Gift to man, because he reveals to us the Father. Let us value most those blessings which bring us nearest to God!

III. GOD'S BEST GIFTS ARE INTENDED TO BEAUTIFY CHARACTER. Nebuchadnezzar's wealth, power, conquests, had brought no real good to the man; nay, they had done him harm. They had corrupted the better principles of his soul. They had made him self-sufficient, proud, tyrannical. But now, in a season of mental suffering, God's grace had touched his heart. In that humiliated state, the king learns his dependence on God, his need of Divine help, and the homage due to the supreme Jehovah. His pride is abated. His love of the world is diminished. He is constrained to give unto God his due. He is made another man. His inmost character has been benefited. He is more indebted to temporary insanity than to all his successful wars.

IV. THE BEST GIFTS OF GOD DEMAND PUBLIC ACKNOWLEDGMENT. There was the greatest propriety that the Chaldean king should proclaim to the world his obligations to God. He had been placed under weighty indebtedness, and could show his gratitude in no other way than by declaring to the world his obligation. Often had he made proclamations and edicts to propagate his own will and pleasure; it was fitting that he should now act as a dependent, as a herald of the great King. What better form—what other form—can gratitude assume, than publishing our obligations to the world? We can do no good to God in return for his kindness; we may do good to our fellow-men. If gratitude be genuine it will be publicly acknowledged. Honest recipients of blessing will say, "Come, ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul."—D.

Daniel 4:4-9

True and false prophets.

It is amazing how some men are addicted to folly. It seems ingrained into the very nature of some men. Nebuchadnezzar had proved aforetime the vain pretensions of his magicians and soothsayers, and had proved, too, the incomparable superiority of Daniel; nevertheless, he neglects Daniel again on this occasion, and sends for the pretentious astrologers. Such men must be pounded in a mortar before the folly can be expurgated.

I. THE PROPHET HAS ALWAYS A PLACE IN THE WORLD. There has always been, and always will be, a need for him. Scientific discovery, however rapid its advancements, will never push the prophet from his niche. A vision was granted to Nebuchadnezzar by God, yet even the vision does not suffice. It only perplexes, saddens, alarms. The carnal mind cannot understand it. It is a terrific enigma—confusion worse confounded. There is need of a prophet to unfold the signification. As long as man requires authoritative interpretations of Divine truth, so long he requires the prophet.

II. THE PROPHET CANNOT BE MADE BY THE ART OR SKILL OF MAN. The Babylonian king may make decrees from morning till night, but no number of royal decrees can manufacture a prophet. He may call a certain number of recluses "wise men;" but he can never make them so. Both kings and manner men allow themselves to be easily deceived by the mere show and pretence of authority. Let kings learn that there are some things which even they cannot do. In their extremity king-made prophets fail.

III. THE TRUE PROPHET IS CREATED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD. God reveals his mind and will to whomsoever he pleases. As every power of mind is his creation, so this gift of prophetic insight is a direct donation from God. The capacity is God's, though man can improve and develop it by wise use. Prophecy is not so much a faculty of mind as the production of a peculiar temper of soul. It is strongest in the man who walks most closely with God; in other words, who is most conformed to God's character and image. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him." To the same end, Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, "I thank thee, Father,… because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."

IV. THE TRUE PROPHET MAY BE KNOWN BY HIS HUMILITY AND LOVE. Daniel did not push his way into the presence of the king, with the rest of the wise men. He calmly waited in obscurity until his presence was sought. Real merit is neither forward nor froward. Nor, when Daniel perceived the purport of the dream, was he in haste to make known the coming disaster. Astonishment and sorrow sealed his lips for the space of an hour. Then, required by the king to unburden his soul, the prophet expresses profoundest sympathy with the king's doom: "My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee." The true prophet will not only bring God's message, but will bring it in God's spirit. He "speaks the truth in love."—D.

Daniel 4:10-18

A vision of self-ruin.

It must always be regarded as a mark of God's kindness, when he forewarns men of his impending judgments. If vindictive retribution only was intended, there would be no premobition. The old adage current among the heathen, "The gods have feet of wool," ires no place in God's kingdom. "The axe is laid at the root of the tree"—a proof that kindness is not extinct in God's bosom.

I. WE HAVE A PICTURE OF BRILLIANT PROSPERITY. It was a common method in olden time to represent a prosperous man under the image of a flourishing tree. "The righteous shall prosper as a palm tree: he shall grow as a cedar in Lebanon." The greatness and splendour of Nebuchadnezzar resembled such a tree. He reigned in Babylon—well-nigh the centre of the then known world. His power among earthly kings was supreme. Neighbouring monarchs were his vassals. In all his wars he had been successful. Israel and Syria, Egypt and Arabia, lay at his feet. His throne was strong, and his fame reached, as it seemed, to heaven. Nor did his rule appear, on the whole, injurious. The peoples found protection under his sceptre. He encouraged the growth of art and science. But this military glory fed and pampered his pride. He deemed himself something more than man. He imagined himself a demi-god. The prosperity was outward, material, plausible. It did not touch and transform his inner nature. His body was nursed in luxury, but he was starving his soul. The flower opened in unrivalled beauty, but there was a worm at the root. Ah! deceitful sunshine.

II. A PICTURE OF AWFUL REVERSE. It is no uncommon thing for prosperous men to suffer a sudden and complete reverse. "Riches make for themselves wings, and fly away." The props of a throne are soon snapped. The arm of military power is soon broken. Kings have ended life in a dungeon or on a scaffold. Not more complete is the contrast between a fruit tree in spring and the same tree in the frosty days of winter, than the conditions of some men—in the morning prosperous, in the evening stripped and naked. Can Fortune's best gifts be worth much, which give no warrant of continuance? The calamity which was preparing for Nebuchadnezzar was certainly the most severe that could befall a man. Worse than disease! Worse than leprosy Worse than death! He who had "set his heart as the heart of God," who had aspired to a place among the stars, was to fall below the level of a man—was to have the heart of a beast, abject weakness instead of imperial might, imbecility in place of boasted wisdom. This disaster is said to be proclaimed by a holy watcher. This language was an accommodation to prevalent beliefs. The unfallen angels, being unburdened with a corporeal nature, and having, therefore, no need of sleep, are ever wakeful to execute the commissions of Jehovah. These watch our course, grieve over our declensions, and correct us for our follies. So did an angel scatter the hosts of Sennacherib. So did an angel smite Herod with a fatal disease. "Are they not all ministering spirits?" "Excelling in strength, they do his commands, hearkening to the voice of his word."

III. TWIN RAYS OF HOPE. The Divine sentence proceeds with a succession of melancholy chastisements, until the word "nevertheless" is reached; then the deepening darkness is relieved by a gleam of hope. The stump of the root was to be preserved. This, of course, implied that the overthrow was not absolute and final. Room was yet left for repentance and restoration. Special means were chosen to preserve the stump from rot and injury. So all God's judgments, in this life, are corrective and are designed to be remedial. Judgment and mercy are blended in human discipline. The affliction, though severe, was not to be permanent and eternal. There was a limit in respect to duration: "Till seven times are passed over him." A sad apprenticeship in the dark prison of insanity, for seven years, was to be endured. And then, what? This was the momentous question. Was the issue, then, to be death? Or repentance, amendment, life? Tremendous issues hung upon the man's use of God's judgment. Every man is upon his trial. We are here "prisoners of hope." A ray of mercy gilds our path, which ray may broaden and brighten into eternal noon, or may be quenched in blackest night.

IV. A MERCIFUL DESIGN. There is no room for caprice or chance in the government of our world, nor in any of the affairs of men. Does insanity fall upon a man? It is by a heaven]y design. "The purpose of Jehovah, that shall stand." Mark, that God's intention was not simply the good of one individual man, but the good of all living. God uses one to teach many—disciplines one, that he may be a blessing to multitudes. "No man liveth unto himself." We receive good and evil mediately from the human race. We transmit blessing or bane to the future ages. God's high design is to teach men religious truth—"that the living may know that God ruleth" To know God, as the living, reigning God,—this is among the highest blessings we can obtain. If we know God, we shall long to be reconciled to him, to enjoy his friendship. Acquaintance with God will quicken the aspiration to be like him. To know him is the way to virtue, wisdom, eminence, peace. It is comparatively easy to instruct the beggar, it is very difficult to instruct the monarch, in this lore. How hardly shall they that have riches confess themselves poor! How hardly shall they that have dominion acknowledge their dependence! The poorest in this way may become the richest; the meanest among men may become the mightiest in the kingdom of heaven.—D.

Daniel 4:19-28

Prophetic counsel.

The true prophet is God's messenger to men. He has a definite mission to perform, and his service here is unspeakably precious. We have here several marks of a genuine prophet.

I. REAL SYMPATHY WITH HIS FELLOW-MEN. As a servant of the most high God, he can have no sympathy with self-indulgence, pride, ambition, or any form of sin. But he has real affection for men. Beneath the thick crust of worldliness, he perceives a precious soul, bearing still some lineaments of the Divine image; and his aim is to release and rescue the real man. The prophet feels for him, enters into his perplexities, bears with him the burden of sin. He would, if he might, take those burdens on his own shoulders, and bear them to the feet of the Sin-destroyer. To a large extent he identifies himself with suffering and enslaved humanity. Daniel's silence was more eloquent than any speech, and if he could have averted the monarch's doom he would have done so.

II. CLEAR INSIGHT INTO UNSEEN REALITIES. The prophet of God has commerce with the invisible realm. He knows, as a matter of fact, that there is a sphere of life encompassing us on every side, though unseen by mortal eye. The world, which is patent to the senses is a very small world compared with the territory unrevealed to sense. The visible creation is full of pictures and symbols of the invisible. Moral truths are adumbrated for us in allegorical forms. The objects and events, with which we are familiar in daily life, serve as hieroglyphs, and reveal to our dull understandings heavenly lessons. The trees of the field illustrate man's growth, prosperity, decadence, sudden fall. His frailty may be read in the grass of the field. 1% material scythe is needed to mow him down. He falls before the east wind. We are dullards and fools if we do not read lessons of wisdom from the scenes of nature, especially when the messengers of God have furnished a key with which to unlock the door of interpretation.

III. PERSONAL REPROOF. God's prophet is bold as well as skilful; fearless as well as affectionate. Being God's messenger, he is bound to represent God; and, with all God's might for his defence, nothing can really harm him. Beside, his very eagerness to promote men's welfare inspires him with courage. He is conscious that he has no other end in view, except to please his Master and to benefit men; hence he proceeds straightway to put his finger upon the plague-spot of men's disease, and to prescribe the remedy. In dealing with those who desire their guidance, God's prophets cannot be too plain, too pointed, or too faithful. If a wanderer seeks guidance through a perilous wilderness, his guide cannot be too plain in his instructions, nor too persistent in requiring a faithful following of his words. Fearless vindication of the truth is a mark of a genuine prophet.

IV. WISE ADMONITION. "Wherefore, O king," said Daniel, "break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor." It is quite probable that this monarch bad not been scrupulously upright in his administration of public justice; quite probable that the poor had been enslaved and oppressed. In the enlargement and embellishment of his capital, it is more than likely that forced labour had been largely exacted from the poor. Possibly the captives from Palestine and from other lands were included in these oppressive measures. Anyhow, Daniel traces the coming disaster to its real fount, viz. the personal sin of the monarch; and, like a true friend, he implores the king to endeavour by repentance to avert the awful doom. If the end can be obtained by methods less severe—the end, viz. man's salvation—God has no wish to employ harsher discipline. His aim is man's good. "Judgment is his strange work." But repentance must be thorough, genuine, practical. It must show itself in real fruit, No half-measures will suffice. The great Physician will have a perfect cure. No human eloquence, however persuasive, will induce men to repent without the attendant and subduing grace of Jehovah. Along with our own efforts, there should be earnest supplication for Divine help.—D.

Daniel 4:29-33

The sudden collapse of pride.

Careful and costly measures had been furnished by God to restrain Nebuchadnezzar from the brink of ruin, to which he was fast hastening. The dream, with its appalling omens; the human messenger; the king's conscience;—all these were voices from the supreme court of heaven. But conscience was silenced, the prophet was forgotten, the sense of danger diminished; Nebuchadnezzar persisted in his sin, until the patience of God was exhausted.

I. WE SEE PRIDE VAUNTING ITSELF IN BOASTFUL VAIN-GLORY. A year had elapsed since the faithful voice of Daniel had wakened the conscience of the king. At first the monarch intended to reform, but procrastination destroyed the sensitiveness of feeling, blinded him to the imminence of danger, and gave momentum to his downward course. The city grew in magnitude and in magnificence. The royal plans proceeded towards completion. Outward prosperity shone upon him in still clearer glory, Notwithstanding, the hour of reckoning was about to strike. Walking upon his elevated palace-roof, and surveying the grandeur of the city, Nebuchadnezzar gave the reins to natural pride—thought and spoke as if there were none greater than he. This is the end pride ever aims at, viz. to make man a god unto himself. Yet was there a solitary stone in that vast pile that had been created by Nebuchadnezzar? Was the mind that designed the whole self-originated? Were the ten thousand artisans who had daily wrought upon those buildings the workmanship of man or of God? Pride is idolatry. Pride becomes mad atheism. There is no sin that is so frequently and freely condemned in Scripture as pride. By it the angels lost their high estate. Into this pit Adam fell. "Ye shall be as gods," the tempter said. "God resisteth the proud." They are a smoke in his nostrils. "Pride goeth before destruction." One step only between haughtiness and hell. Insolent arrogance verges on madness.

II. WE SEE HUMAN PRIDE MOVING TO ACTIVITY THE COUNSELS OF HEAVEN. If the statesmen or the artisans in Babylon overheard the utterance of the king, they might have regarded it as a harmless outburst of vanity. Yet God doth not so regard it. It disturbs the tranquillity of heaven. It is regarded there as the language of hostile defiance. The limit of God's forbearance was leached. There is a time to be quiet and a time to act. The cup of Nebuchadnezzar's sin was full. He had despised the messages of kindly expostulation from Jehovah, and now no delay was permitted. The king had barely ceased to speak when Jehovah responded. But the words of Nebuchadnezzar were not intended for the ears of God. Ah! still he heard them. He regarded them as an indirect menace to him, and he at once replies. The verdict has passed the Judge's lips. The kingdom is alienated. In a moment empire is lost. Rank, honour, power, are lost. Manhood is lost. Intelligence, memory, reason, love,—all lust. Bare existence only remains. Like the prodigal boy, he descends step by step into a deeper degradation, and at length herds with the beasts of the field. Yet this is but an outward and visible portraiture of the inward degradation.

III. WE SEE HUMAN PRIDE MEETING WITH FITTING RETRIBUTION. We have here in concrete form—in the history of a living person—the abstract truth, "He that exalteth himself shall be abased." This is its natural and fitting outcome—its proper fruit. We cannot doubt that every form and degree of sin has, in the Divine code, a suitable and adequate punishment. There is not simply one rigid penalty for every mode and measure of transgression. The justice that presides on the eternal throne has eyes of subtlest discrimination and balances of exquisite nicety. Every step in the judicial procedure of God is accordant with natural principles. Even the forces of material nature will possibly be employed in vindicating the Divine Majesty. The indolence and sensual indulgence of the Babylonian palace served to emasculate Nebuchadnezzar. The rousing energy which war had demanded in earlier years had braced the monarch's mind. But now the years of public peace had been so misused that inertia bred softness and luxury produced effeminacy. Step by step character deteriorated, though, perhaps, not detected by mortal eye. At length, by the Divine fiat, Reason abdicated her seat; the animal got the better of the man. In his imbecile condition the king imagined himself an ox, and preferred to browse in the fields. He was held last by this hallucination. His relatives and attendants, very possibly, feared to resist him. They humoured his infatuation until, in the royal paddock, his hair grew ragged and coarse, his nails became long and bent like eagles' claws. This is the monarch who disdained to recognize God—the monarch who plumed himself on his self-sufficiency! Draw near, all proud doffers of God, and see this portrait of yourselves!—D.

Daniel 4:34-37

Light at eventide.

It is a perilous thing to abuse any of God's gifts. Thereby we interfere with the order of his government, and justly provoke his anger. The darkening of intellect with prejudice is no mean offence. Bribing reason with sensual delights not to recognize God—this is a serious injury to one's self, and daring rebellion against God. Such was the aggravated sin el Nebuchadnezzar; yet the judgment of God was tempered with mercy. The abuse of reason resulted in its loss, yet the loss was temporary. The deplorable darkness was designed as a prelude to clearer light,

I. PRESENT CHASTISEMENTS ARE NOT FINAL. This is a gracious alleviation of the severity. The darkest element in the Divine judgment is absent. There is scope for amendment, repentance, return. A ray of hope lights up the darkness of the scene. Yea, more; the chastisement, however severe, may be transfigured into supremest blessing. "It was good for me to be afflicted." "Out of the eater may come forth meat." A rough and prickly shell may enclose the sweetest kernel. The fire which consumes the dross may only beautify the go]d. Loss may be only an unrecognized form of gain. Through faith in God's faithful love we can "glory in tribulation also." "At the end of the days" the king's insanity ceased.

II. LOSS OF REASON DESTROYS MAN'S SENSE OF SELF-SUFFICIENCY. God had taken pains, on previous occasions, to convince Nebuchadnezzar that the invisible Jehovah was the true God of the universe, but the king had hardened his heart against the conviction. His inveterate pride prevented his belief. Fain would he be his own god. "Our wills are our own: who is Lord over us?" Such was his favourite doctrine. It was pleasant to be self-contained. It was a sweet morsel for the carnal appetite, this flattering unction that his own skill and strength had gained him this success. And so ingrained into his nature had this habit of self-trust become, that only the severest discipline from God could dislodge it. But when his understanding became dark, and memory failed, and Reason abdicated, and manhood became a wreck, he learnt in the school of personal experience what he refused to learn before, viz. how frail and dependent is man—how absolute a sovereign is God. At last self-sufficiency is rooted out, and a spirit of meek humility takes its place. Be it ours to learn the lesson without so severe a discipline!

III. RECOVERED REASON TEACHES US GOD'S ETERNAL SOVEREIGNTY. The native tendency of man's mind is to circumscribe its thought about itself. It makes self a centre round which all its thoughts and plans revolve. It vaguely imagines that when personal self fails, the world will collapse. It thinks little about the past, and what has led up to our present privileged position; it cares little about the remote future. But when foolish man "comes to himself," after his aberrations and follies, he learns that for untold ages One has ruled on the throne of the universe, and is making all events to work out his designs. He was King long before we appeared upon the earthly scene; and he will remain Master of the situation long after we have passed away. His authority none can dispute. Yet, for his hormone and for our consolation, it shall be said that his will is right and just and good. "His will is our sanctification." "It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good."

IV. THE RIGHT USE OF REASON IS TO GLORIFY GOD. It is the primary and pressing duty of every man to learn the proper use of his faculties. When we have reached years of discretion we should often ask ourselves, "What is God's intention in giving me this understanding, this conscience, this reason?" Our plainest duty is to ascertain, if possible, his intention, and to follow that intention closely. To be self-consistent, we must either deny that he is our Master, and repudiate his every claim, or else we must acknowledge his authority over every part of our nature, and over every moment of our lives. A partial obedience is no obedience at all. This would be a setting up of self to be the judge when obedience should be rendered, and would be a virtual dethronement of God. Here hesitation or debate is excluded. If my reason be an endowment from God, I am bound, by every tie of obligation, to use it for his honour, and to magnify him therewith. Therefore the first principle of genuine religion is this: "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever."—D.

Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Daniel 4". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tpc/daniel-4.html. 1897.
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