TEKEL; You are weighed in the balances, and are found wanting.
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"O that my grief were thoroughly weighed,
1. That the character which we now call Hebrew is the Chaldean character.
2. That the true Hebrew character is that which we call the Samaritan.
3. Daniel could easily read this, for it was the character used by the Jews previously to the Babylonish captivity.
4. It appears that it was simply on account of the strangeness of the character that the Chaldeans could not read it.
I shall set down the words in both characters, by which the least learned reader may see that it was quite possible that one might be well known, while the other might be unintelligible.
In ancient times, no doubt, these letters differed more from each other than they appear to do now; for we know that the Samaritan on ancient coins, though radically the same, differs very much from that now used in printing.
It should be observed, that each word stands for a short sentence; מנא mene signifies Numeration; תקל tekel, Weighing; and פרש peres, Division. And so the Arabic translates them mokeeson, measured; mewzonon, weighed; mokesoomon, divided. All the ancient Versions, except the Syriac, read the words simply Mene, Tekel, Phares, as they are explained in the following verses; without the repetition of Mene, and without the conjunction ו vau and plural termination, ין in, in Peres.
thou art weighed in the balances: of justice and truth, in the holy righteous law of God; as gold, and jewels, and precious stones, are weighed in the scales by the goldsmith and jeweller with great exactness, to know the worth of them:
and art found wanting; found to be adulterated gold, reprobate silver, bad coin, a false stone; found to be a worthless man, a wicked prince, wanting the necessary qualifications of wisdom, goodness, mercy, truth, and justice. The Scriptures of truth, the word of God, contained in the books of the Old and New Testament, are the balances of the sanctuary, in which persons, principles, and practices, are to be weighed; and sad it is where they are found light and wanting: men, both of high and low degree, when put here, are lighter than vanity. The Pharisee, or self-righteous person, when weighed in the balance of God's law, which is holy, just, and good, will be found wanting of that holiness and righteousness he pretends to, and appear to be an unholy and an unrighteous man; his righteousness, neither for the matter of it, nor manner of performing it, being agreeable to that law, and so no righteousness in the sense of it, Deuteronomy 6:25, it being imperfect, and so leaves him to the curse of it, Galatians 3:10, and not being performed in a pure and spiritual manner that it requires, is rejected by it; and miserable will be the case of such a man at the day of judgment, when his works will be found wanting, and not answerable to the demands of a righteous law, and he without the wedding garment of Christ's righteousness, and so naked and speechless. The hypocrite, and formal professor, when weighed in the balance of the Scripture, will be found wanting the true grace of God; his faith will appear to be feigned, and his hope groundless, and his love to be in word and in tongue only, and not at all to answer to the description of true grace given in the word of God; and bad will it be with such persons at last, when at the bridegroom's coming they will be destitute of the oil of true and real grace; only have that which is counterfeit, and the mere lamp of an outward profession, which will then stand them in no stead, or be of any avail unto them: in the same balances are the doctrines and principles of men to be weighed; and, such as are according to them are solid and weighty, and are comparable to gold, silver, and precious stones; but such as are not are light, and like wood, hay, and stubble, which the fire of the word will reveal, try, and burn up, not being able to stand against it; and if these are weighed in the balances, they will be found wanting of real truth and goodness, and be but as chaff to wheat; and what is the one to the other? there is no comparison between them; and dreadful will be the case of false teachers, that make and teach an abomination and a lie; and of those that are given up to believe them, these will not be able to stand the trying hour of temptation, and much less the last and final judgment. Sad for preachers of the word to be found wanting in their ministry, and hearers to be wanting in their duty; not taking care neither what they hear, nor how they hear, or whether they put in practice the good they do hear.TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.Isaiah 36:2. - נס נא, try, I beseech thee, thy servants, i.e., try it with us, ten days. Ten, in the decimal system the number of completeness or conclusion, may, according to circumstances, mean a long time or only a proportionally short time. Here it is used in the latter sense, because ten days are sufficient to show the effect of the kind of food on the appearance. זרעים, food from the vegetable kingdom, vegetables, leguminous fruit. Daniel 1:13. מראינוּ is singular, and is used with יראוּ in the plural because two subjects follow. כּאשׁר תּראה, as thou shalt see, viz., our appearance, i.e., as thou shalt then find it, act accordingly. In this proposal Daniel trusted in the help of God, and God did not put his confidence to shame.
(Note: The request is perfectly intelligible from the nature of living faith, without our having recourse to Calvin's supposition, that Daniel had received by secret revelation the assurance that such would be the result if he and his companions were permitted to live on vegetables. The confidence of living faith which hopes in the presence and help of God is fundamentally different from the eager expectation of miraculous interference of a Maccabean Jew, which C. v. Lengerke and other deists and atheists wish to find here in Daniel.)
The youths throve so visibly on the vegetables and water, that the steward relieved them wholly from the necessity of eating from the royal table. Daniel 1:15. בּשׂר בּריאי, fat, well nourished in flesh, is grammatically united to the suffix of מראיהם, from which the pronoun is easily supplied in thought. Daniel 1:16. נשׂא, took away equals no more gave.
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