Daniel 3:4
Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages,
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(4) People, nations.—In Biblical language the latter word is used (Genesis 25:16) of the tribes of Ishmael, each of which had its own head, or of the Midianites (Numbers 25:15). The former is applied to Israel in Psalm 111:6, where occurs the phrase, “people of Jehovah.” The word “languages” is applied (Genesis 10:5; Genesis 10:20, &c.) to tribes as represented by their languages. Hence these three expressions denote all nations subject to the empire, of whatever description of language, government, or federation. (Comp. Daniel 3:29, and Daniel 4:1; Daniel 7:14.)

Daniel 3:4-6. Then a herald cried aloud — Made proclamation in the languages of the several nations assembled; To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages — Whatever parts of the empire you come from, and whatever language you speak. This form of speech was doubtless designed to set forth the largeness and extent of the Babylonish empire. That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, &c. — That is, of wind and stringed instruments of various sorts. It is justly observed by Mr. Scott here, that “the several words by which the several kinds of musical instruments are enumerated in this chapter, do not seem to admit of any satisfactory explanation:” certainly, “without distinctly referring to ancient usages,” and going to a great length of explication, “they cannot be made intelligible, except to those few who are fully acquainted with those usages, and perhaps scarcely even to them:” and if the reader could attain correct ideas of the forms and powers of them all, he would from this derive but little edification. Ye fall down and worship the golden image — Let all take notice, 1st, That the king strictly charges and commands all manner of persons, whatever other gods they worship at other times, now to worship this. 2d, That all do this just at the same time, in token of their communion with each other at this service. And whosoever falleth not down and worshippeth — St. Jerome observes, that falling down is applied, in Scripture, rather to idols than the true God; (see Matthew 4:9;) shall the same hour, &c. — This is the first place in the Old Testament where we meet with the division of time into hours. The Greeks ascribe the invention of them to Anaximander, who, perhaps, received it from the Chaldees. The mode of punishment here mentioned was common among this people: compare Jeremiah 29:22. It has been said, that Abraham was exposed to this punishment before his departure from Chaldea: see Genesis 11:31; and Calmet. Similar methods has mystical Babylon followed, to compel those she denominates heretics to embrace her creed, and join in her anti-christian worship.3:1-7 In the height of the image, about thirty yards, probably is included a pedestal, and most likely it was only covered with plates of gold, not a solid mass of that precious metal. Pride and bigotry cause men to require their subjects to follow their religion, whether right or wrong, and when worldly interest allures, and punishment overawes, few refuse. This is easy to the careless, the sensual, and the infidel, who are the greatest number; and most will go their ways. There is nothing so bad which the careless world will not be drawn to by a concert of music, or driven to by a fiery furnace. By such methods, false worship has been set up and maintained.Then an herald cried aloud - Margin, as in Chaldee, "with might." He made a loud proclamation. A "herald" here means a public crier.

To you it is commanded - Margin, "they commanded." Literally, "to you commanding" (plural); that is, the king has commanded.

O people, nations, and languages - The empire of Babylon was made up of different nations, speaking quite different languages. The representatives of these nations were assembled on this occasion, and the command would extend to all. There was evidently no exception made in favor of the scruples of any, and the order would include the Hebrews as well as others. It should be observed, however, that no others but the Hebrews would have any scruples on the subject. They were all accustomed to worship idols, and the worship of one god did not prevent their doing homage also to another. It accorded with the prevailing views of idolaters that there were many gods; that there were tutelary divinities presiding over particular people; and that it was not im proper to render homage to the god of any people or country. Though, therefore, they might themselves worship other gods in their own countries, they would have no scruples about worshipping also the one that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. In this respect the Jews were an exception. They acknowledged but one God; they believed that all others were false gods, and it was a violation of the fundamental principles of their religion to render homage to any other.

4. The arguments of the persecutor are in brief, Turn or burn. An herald: it is likely there were many heralds at the head of that great concourse, else they could not all hear.

People, nations, and languages: proclamation was made therefore in several languages, to some of several nations assembled there, and to the representatives of all. Then an herald cried aloud,.... That his voice might be heard all over the plain; or if it should be thought that one was not sufficient to be heard throughout, which probably was the case, and where; so great a number being assembled together, all could not hear one man, the singular may be put for the plural; and many being set in different places in the plain, and speaking different languages, might proclaim when the image was dedicated, as follows:

to you it is commanded; by the king's authority:

O people, nations, and languages; the several kingdoms, states, and provinces, that belonged to the Babylonian monarchy, and spoke different languages, as now represented by their several governors and officers; as the Armenians, Parthians, Medes, Persians, &c.

Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, {d} nations, and languages,

(d) These are the two dangerous weapons, which Satan used to fight against the children of God, the consent of the multitude, and the cruelty of the punishment. For even though some feared God, yet the multitude who consented to the wickedness persuaded them: and here the King required not an inward consent, but an outward gesture, that the Jews might by little and little learn to forget their true religion.

4. And the herald cried aloud] lit. with might: Song of Solomon 4:14; Song of Solomon 5:7; and in Heb. (though the substantive is a different one) Jonah 3:8.

peoples, nations, and languages] the same pleonastic combination, Daniel 3:7; Daniel 3:29, Daniel 4:1, Daniel 5:19, Daniel 6:25, Daniel 7:14; cf. also Isaiah 66:18. Similarly Revelation 5:9; Revelation 7:9; Revelation 10:11; Revelation 11:9; Revelation 13:7; Revelation 14:6; Revelation 17:16. Here the combination is no doubt used under the idea that strangers from different countries ruled by Nebuchadnezzar, as well as from other parts (such as were always to be found in Babylon: Isaiah 13:14 b, Isaiah 47:15; Jeremiah 50:16), would be present on such an occasion.

peoples] i.e. nations, a sense not now expressed by the English ‘people.’ See the remarks on this word in the Preface to the Revised Version of the O.T.Verses 4, 5. - Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up. The Septuagint rendering is, "And the herald proclaimed to the multitudes, To you it is announced, peoples and countries, nations and tongues, when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, the pipe, the harp, the sackbut, and psaltery, of chorus, and of all kinds of music, that ye fall down and worship the golden image which King Nebuchadnezzar set up." It is clear that the Septuagint translator rendered חיל as "host," and translated בְ as if it were לְ. The balanced cadence of the next clause seems more natural, if due to the Aramaic source than to the Greek translator. The musical instruments are also arranged in the same cadenced fashion, broken to some extent by συμφωνία. Theodotion is, as usual, in closer agreement with the Massoretic text, but omits συμφωνία. The Peshitta in the fourth verse agrees not only word for word, but we might almost say syllable for syllable, with the Massoretic text. In the fifth verse it omits pesanterin; instead of sabka, it has kinora, which is usually regarded as the Hebrew equivalent of κιθάρα; instead of συμφωνία, it has tziphonia, which suggests a different etymology. It is true Strack ('Neu Hebraische Sprache') points out that ס has a tendency to become צ before syllables with the ד sound or at the end of words, but this is neither of these; the syllable with צ is the first, not the last, and there is no d or t sound in the word. Jerome is in strict verbal agreement with the Massoretic text. We shall have to devote a short excursus to the names of the musical instruments which occur here. In eagerness to find proofs of the late origin of the Book of Daniel - of its origin in the times of the Hellenic domination, karoza was derived from .κήρυξ, that etymology is universally abandoned now. O people, nations, and languages. It ought rather to be peoples. Bishop Wordsworth remarks on the resemblance which this phrase bears to tsar used of the mystical Babylon in Revelation (Revelation 13:7; 17:15), and adds that she also "commands them to fall down and worship the image which she has set up." In regard to the following verse, the sculptures of Nineveh prove the prominence given to music in all important occasions, as the celebration of a triumph or the dedication of a temple. The names of the musical instruments are not so generally preserved. It was most likely when the rays of the morning sun smote the golden tip of the obelisk, that there came the burst of music which was to serve as a signal for all the multitudes to fall down and worship. The image was looked upon as the sign of the god it represented; it received the worship meant for him. Boundaries of the Land to be Divided among the Tribes of Israel.

Ezekiel 47:13. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, This is the boundary according to which ye shall divide the land among you for an inheritance, for Joseph portions. Ezekiel 47:14. And ye shall receive it for an inheritance, one as well as another, because I lifted up my hand to give it to your fathers; and thus shall this land fall to you for an inheritance. Ezekiel 47:15. And this is the boundary of the land: toward the north side, from the great sea onwards by the way to Chetlon, in the direction of Zedad; Ezekiel 47:16. Hamath, Berotah, Sibraim, which is between the boundary of Damascus and the boundary of Hamath, the central Hazer, which is on the boundary of Haruan. Ezekiel 47:17. And the boundary from the sea shall be Hazar-Enon, the boundary town of Damascus; and as for the north northwards, Hamath is the boundary. This, the north side. Ezekiel 47:18. And the east side between Hauran and Damascus and Gilead and the land of Israel, shall be the Jordan; from the boundary to the eastern sea ye shall measure. This, the east side. Ezekiel 47:19. And the south side toward the south; from Tamar to the water of strife, Kadesh, along the brook to the great sea. This, the south side toward the south. Ezekiel 47:20. And the west side; the great sea from the boundary to Hamath. This, the west side. Ezekiel 47:21. This land shall ye divide among you according to the tribes of Israel. Ezekiel 47:22. And it shall come to pass, ye shall divide it by lot among yourselves for an inheritance, and among the foreigners who dwell in the midst of you, who have begotten sons in the midst of you; they shall be to you like natives born among the sons of Israel; they shall cast lots with you for an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. Ezekiel 47:23. And it shall come to pass, in the tribe in which the foreigner dwells, there shall ye give him his inheritance, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah.

The fixing of the boundary of the land which Israel was to divide in future according to its twelve tribes is commenced (Ezekiel 47:13 and Ezekiel 47:14) and concluded (Ezekiel 47:22 and Ezekiel 47:23) with certain general statements concerning the distribution. The introductory statements are attached to the heading "this is the boundary," which is therefore repeated in Ezekiel 47:15. גּה is evidently a copyist's error for זה, which is adopted by all the older translators, contained in some Codd., and demanded by וזה in Ezekiel 47:15. גּבוּל stands here for the whole of the boundary of the land to be distributed; and אשׁר which follows is an accusative, "according to which." - "According to the twelve tribes," - for all Israel is to return and dwell as one people of God under one prince in its own land (Ezekiel 36:24., Ezekiel 37:21.). But the division among the twelve tribes is more precisely defined immediately afterwards by the clause abruptly appended, "Joseph portions," i.e., two portions for Joseph. There can be no doubt that this is the meaning of the words in accordance with Genesis 48:22 and Joshua 17:14, Joshua 17:17. Hence the notice-like form of the expression, which should not be obliterated by pointing חבלים as a dual, חבלים. If the land was to be divided by lot according to twelve tribes, and the tribe of Levi was to receive its portion from the terumah which was set apart, Joseph must necessarily receive two hereditary portions for his sons Ephraim and Manasseh, in accordance with the appointment of the patriarch in Genesis 48:22. The commencement of Ezekiel 47:14 is not at variance with this, as Hitzig imagines; for the words, "ye shall receive it for an inheritance, one as another," simply affirm, that of the twelve tribes reckoned by Israel in relation to the נחלה, all were to receive equal shares, the one as much as the other. As the reason for this command to divide the land, allusion is made to the oath with which God promised to give this land to the fathers (cf. Ezekiel 20:28).

The definition of the boundaries commences with Ezekiel 47:15. In form it differs in many points from Numbers 34:1-5, but in actual fact it is in harmony with the Mosaic definition. In Numbers 34 the description commences with the southern boundary, then proceeds to the western and northern boundaries, and closes with the eastern. In Ezekiel it commences with the northern boundary and proceeds to the east, the south, and the west. This difference may be explained in a very simple manner, from the fact that the Israelites in the time of Moses came from Egypt i.e., marching from the south, and stood by the south-eastern boundary of the land, whereas at this time they were carried away into the northern lands Assyria and Babylon, and were regarded as returning thence. Again, in Ezekiel the boundaries are described much more briefly than in Numbers 34, the northern boundary alone being somewhat more circumstantially described. The course which it takes is represented in a general manner in Ezekiel 47:15 as running from the great sea, i.e., the Mediterranean, by the way to Chetlon, in the direction toward Zedad. In Ezekiel 47:16 and Ezekiel 47:17 there follow the places which formed the boundary. The starting-point on the Mediterranean Sea can only be approximately determined, as the places mentioned, Chetlon and Zedad, are still unknown. Not only Chetlon, but Zedad also, has not yet been discovered. The city of Sadad (Sudud), to the east of the road leading from Damascus to Hums (Emesa), which Robinson and Wetzstein suppose to be the same, lies much too far toward the east to be used in defining the boundary either here or in Numbers 34:8 (see the comm. on Numbers 34:8). Among the names enumerated in Ezekiel 47:16, חמת is not the city of Hamah on the Orontes, which lay much too far to the north, but the kingdom of Hamath, the southern boundary of which formed the northern boundary of Canaan, though it cannot be given with exactness. Berothah is probably identical with Berothai in 2 Samuel 8:8, a city of the king of Zobah; but the situation of it is still unknown. Sibraim may perhaps be identical with Ziphron in Numbers 34:9, which has also not yet been discovered, and is not to be sought for in the ruins of Zifran, to the north-east of Damascus, near the road to Palmyra; for that place could not form the boundary of Damascus and Hamath. The situation of the "central Hazer" has also not yet been determined. Hauran, on the boundary of which it stood, is used here in a more comprehensive sense that ̓Αυρανῖτις in Josephus and other Greek authors, and includes the later Auranitis, together with Gaulanitis (Golan) and Batanaea (Bashan), and probably also Ituraea, as only Damascus and Gilead are named in Ezekiel 47:18 in addition to Hauran, on the east side of the Jordan; so that the whole tract of land between the territory of Damascus and the country of Gilead is embraced by the name Hauran. חורן, Arab. Hawrân, is derived from the number of caves (חור, חוּר) in that district, to which Wetzstein (Reiseber. p. 92) indeed raises the objection that with the exception of the eastern and south-eastern Hauran, where no doubt most of the volcanic hills have been perforated by troglodytes, the dwellings in caves are by no means common in that region. But the name may have originated in this eastern district, and possibly have included even that portion of Gilead which was situated to the north of the Jabbok, namely, Erbed and Sut, the true cave-country. For further remarks concerning these districts, see the comm. on Deuteronomy 3:4 and Deuteronomy 3:10. The statement in Ezekiel 47:17, "the boundary from the sea shall be Hazar-Enon, the boundary of Damascus," cannot have any other meaning than that the northern boundary, which started from the Mediterranean Sea, stretched as far as Hazar-Enon, the frontier city of Damascus, or that Hazar-Enon formed the terminal point on the east, toward the boundary of Damascus, for the northern boundary proceeding from the sea. חצר עינון or חצר עינן (Numbers 34:9), i.e., spring-court, we have endeavoured to identify in the comm. on Numbers 34:3 with the spring Lebweh, which lies in the Beka at the watershed between the Orontes and the Leontes; and the designation "the boundary of Damascus" suits the situation very well. Ezekiel 47:17 has been aptly explained by Hitzig thus, in accordance with the literal meaning of the words, "and as for the north north-wards, Hamath is the boundary," which he further elucidates by observing that צפונה is intended as a supplementary note to the boundary line from west to east, which is indicated just before. ואת פּאת צפון is a concluding formula: "this, the north side." But ואת (here and Ezekiel 47:18 and Ezekiel 47:19) is not to be altered into זאת after Ezekiel 47:20 and the Syriac version, as Hitzig supposes, but to be explained, as Ezekiel 47:18 clearly shows, on the supposition that Ezekiel had תּמודּוּ, "ye shall measure," floating before his mind, to which 'ואת פ, "and that the northern boundary," would form a correct logical sequel.

The eastern boundary is defined in v. 18 in the same manner as in Numbers 34:10-12, except that in the latter it is more minutely described above the Lake of Gennesaret by the mention of several localities, whereas Ezekiel only names the Jordan as the boundary. - פּאת , with supplementary remarks, is not to be taken as the predicate to the subject היּרדּן, as Hitzig has correctly observed; for the meaning of פּאה does not allow of this. The explanation is rather this: as for the east side, between Hauran, etc. and the land of Israel, is the Jordan. Hauran, Damascus, and Gilead lie on the east side of the Jordan, the land of Israel on the west side. The striking circumstance that Ezekiel commences with Hauran, which lay in the middle between Damascus and Gilead, - Hauran, Damascus, and Gilead, instead of Damascus, Hauran, and Gilead, - may probably be explained from the fact that the Jordan, which he names as the boundary, for the sake of brevity, did not extend so far upwards as to the territory of Damascus, but simply formed the boundary of the land of Israel between Hauran and Gilead. מגּבוּל points back to the northern boundary already mentioned. From this boundary, the eastern terminal point of which was Hazar-Enon, they are to measure to the eastern sea, i.e., to the Dead Sea.

Ezekiel 47:19. The southern boundary toward the south is to proceed from Tamar to the water of strife, Kadesh, (and thence) along the brook to the great (i.e., Mediterranean) sea. Tamar, a different place from Hazazon-tamar, called Engedi in Ezekiel 47:10 (cf. 2 Chronicles 20:2), is supposed to be the Thamara (Θαμαρά),

(Note: The statement runs thus: λέγεται δέ τις Θαμαρά κώμη διεστώσα Μάψις ἡμέρας ὁδόν, ἀπιόντων ἀπὸ Χεβρὼν εἰς Αἰλάμ, ἥτις νῦν φρούριόν ἐστι τῶν στρατιωτῶν. In Jerome: est et aliud castellum, unius diei itinere a Mampsis oppido separatum, pergentibus Ailiam de Chebron, ubi nunc romanum praesidium positum est. But on account of the Μάψις (Mampsis), which is evidently a corruption, the passage is obscure. Robinson's conjecture concerning Thamara is founded upon the assumption that the reading should be Μάλις, and that this is the Malatha mentioned by later writers as the station of a Roman cohort.)

which was a day's journey on the road from Hebron to Aelam (Aelath, Deuteronomy 2:8; 1 Kings 9:26), according to Eusebius in the Onomast. ed. Lars. p. 68, and had a Roman garrison; and Robinson (Pal. III pp. 178 and 186ff.) accordingly conjectures that it is to be found in the ruins of Kurnub, which lie six hours' journey to the south of Milh, toward the pass of es-Sufh. But this conjecture is bound up with various assumptions of a very questionable character, and the situation of Hurnub hardly suits the Tamar of our passage, which should be sought, not to the west of the southern point of the Dead Sea, but, according to the southern boundary of Canaan as drawn in Numbers 34:3-5, to the south of the Dead Sea. The waters of strife of Kadesh (Numbers 20:1-13), in the desert of Zin, were near Kadesh-barnea, which was in the neighbourhood of the spring Ain Kades, discovered by Rowland to the south of Bir-Seba and Khalasa by the fore-courts of Jebel Helal, i.e., at the north-west corner of the mountain land of the Azazimeh (see the comm. on Numbers 10:12; Numbers 12:16, and Numbers 20:16). Instead of מריבות we have the singular מריבת in Ezekiel 48:28, as in Numbers 27:14 and Deuteronomy 32:51. נחלה is to be pointed נחלה, from נחל with ה loc.; and the reference is to the brook of Egypt; the great wady el-Arish ( ̔Ρινοκορουρα), along which the southern boundary of Canaan ran from Kadesh to the Mediterranean Sea (see the comm. on Ezekiel 34:5). - Ezekiel 47:20. The Mediterranean Sea formed the western boundary. מגּבוּל, i.e., from the southern boundary mentioned in Ezekiel 47:19 till opposite (עד) to the coming to Hamath, i.e., till opposite to the point at which one enters the territory of Hamath (Hitzig), i.e., the spot mentioned in Ezekiel 47:20 (? 17) as the commencement of the northern boundary in the neighbourhood of the promontory of esh-Shkah between Byblus (Gebal) and Tripolis. - Ezekiel 47:21. This land they are to divide among them according to their tribes. With this remark, which points back to Ezekiel 47:13, the definition of the boundaries is brought to a close. There is simply added in Ezekiel 47:22 and Ezekiel 47:23 a further regulation concerning the foreigners living in Israel. The law of Moses had already repeatedly urged upon the Israelites affectionate treatment of them, and in Leviticus 19:34 the command is given to treat them like natives in this respect, and to love them. But the full right of citizenship was not thereby conceded to them, so that they could also acquire property in land. The land was given to the Israelites alone for an hereditary possession. Foreigners could only be incorporated into the congregation of Israel under the limitations laid down in Deuteronomy 23:2-9, by the reception of circumcision. But in the future distribution of the land, on the contrary, the גּרים were to receive hereditary property like native-born Israelites; and in this respect no difference was to exist between the members of the people of God born of Abraham's seed and those born of the heathen. At the same time, this right was not to be conferred upon every foreigner who might be only temporarily living in Israel, but to those alone who should beget sons in the midst of Israel, i.e., settle permanently in the holy land. The Kal יפּלוּ is not to be altered into the Hiphil תּפּילוּ, as Hitzig proposes, but is used in the sense of receiving by lot, derived from the Hiphil signification, "to apportion by lot."

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