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In this chapter we have,
The perplexity of Nebuchadnezzar thro' his dream which he had
forgotten, and which the magicians could not tell him, ver. 1 - 11.
Orders given to destroy all the wise men of Babylon, ver. 12 - 15.
The dream discovered to Daniel, and his thanksgiving, ver. 16 - 23.
His discovery of the dream and the meaning of it to the king,
ver. 24 - 45.
The honour put upon Daniel and his companions, ver. 46 - 49.
1: In the second year - This was properly in the fifth year of that
king's reign, but in the second year after Daniel had been brought
before the king. Dreams - It was one dream, but of many parts.
2: The astrologers - Who pretended great skill in natural, and
supernatural things. The sorcerers - Or necromancers, who used
diabolical arts. Chaldeans - This name the magicians assumed as
being national, and most noble.
3: To know - He remembered the fact in general, but could not repeat
it perfectly. Yet it had left such an impression on him, as put him in
great perplexity. The Lord hath ways to affright the greatest men in the
world, in the midst of their security.
4: In Syriack - That is in the Chaldee tongue, for Syria or
Aram is sometimes taken in a large sense, containing,
Assyria, Babylon, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, Palestine, (2Ki 18:26).
From hence all is written in the Chaldee language, to the eighth chapter.
9: But one decree - I will not retract my sentence.
13: Daniel and his fellows - Daniel and his fellows were not
called, because of their youth, which the Chaldeans despised.
Here it is observable:
- The magicians confessed, that knowledge and revelation must
come from God, and therefore what Daniel did, was not of any
- That the Lord held the governor's hands, so that he did not
slay Daniel presently with the first.
- That Daniel by his prudence and piety, saved all the magicians
21: He changeth - God can make the sun go back or stand still,
as in Ahaz and Joshua's time, it is the great part of God's power
and prerogative to change times. Daniel here attributes that to
God, which Heathens attributed to nature, or chance. God only, that
made all by his power, doth rule, and over - rule all by his providence.
26: Belteshazzar - By this name of Belteshazzar he had given
Daniel, he took courage as if he might expect some great thing
from him: for the word signifies the keeper of secret treasure.
28: What shall be - Observe the prophet's wisdom, he does not fall
abruptly upon the dream, but first prepares this lofty king for it, and
by degrees labours to win him to the knowledge of the true God.
30: But - But that the interpretation may be manifest to the king,
and that thou mayest be better instructed and satisfied in thy mind.
36: And we - By this word we appears Daniel's piety and
modesty, or he declares by it, that he and his companions had begged
this skill from God, and therefore he did not arrogate it to himself.
38: Made thee ruler - He hath given thee absolute dominion of all
creatures, men and beasts within the bounds of thy vast kingdom.
Thou - He was first in order, as the head is before the other parts, and
the vision began in him, and descended downwards to the other three
monarchies. He was the head of gold, because of the vast riches wherein
this monarchy abounded, and because it stood longest, five hundred years,
and was fortunate and flourishing to the last.
39: Another kingdom - This was that of the Medes and Persians,
inferior in time for it lasted not half so long as the Assyrian in
prosperity and tranquillity; yet, was this wonderful, rich and large
for a time. Third kingdom - This was the Grecian monarchy under
Alexander the great, called brass, because coarser than the other.
Over all the earth - Alexander marched even to the Indies, and was
said to conquer the world.
40: Fourth kingdom - This is the kingdom of the Romans, and was
to last not only to Christ's first coming, but under antichrist, to
his second coming. This did break in pieces all other kingdoms,
being too strong for them, and brought all into subjection to it,
'till the stone fell upon it.
41: Divided - Partly strong, and partly weak; the Roman kingdom
was divided, partly by their civil wars, partly when conquered
provinces and kingdoms cast off the Roman yoke, and set up king's
of their own, and so the empire was divided into ten kingdoms or toes.
42: Broken - This was plain in the civil wars of the Romans, and
the falling off of some countries, especially towards the end of it.
43: Mingle themselves - By marriage, but they shall never knit well
together, because ambition is stronger than affinity.
44: In the days of these kings - While the iron kingdom stood, for
Christ was born in the reign of Augustus Caesar. And this kingdom is
not bounded by any limits, as worldly empires are, but is truly universal.
And it shall be for ever, never destroyed or given to others, as the rest
45: And the gold - This denotes the small beginning of Christ's
visible kingdom, and the different rise of Christ from all other; his
conception by the Holy Ghost, without father and mother, respectively
as to his two natures. This stone, falling from the mountain, brake
the image in pieces; for Christ is a stone that grinds to powder those
it falls on: and he is a growing stone even to a mountain, and therefore
will fill the earth.
46: That they should offer - This was strange, that so great a
monarch should thus worship his vassal, which he did in consternation
and admiration. But doubtless Daniel put a stop to it: though he could
not hinder the king in his prostration, and in his word of command.
And the king being instructed of Daniel, gives God all the glory in the
47: God of gods - The supreme God of all the world, above Baal and
all other gods. Lord of kings - The word in the Syriack signifies,
high Lord, seeing he is the highest king of all the earth.
49: And he set - He substituted them as lieutenants for the king's
service under Daniel, but Daniel sat in the king's gate to be ready
for the king's chief business.