|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:14-23 Daniel humbly prayed that God would discover to him the king's dream, and the meaning of it. Praying friends are valuable friends; and it well becomes the greatest and best men to desire the prayers of others. Let us show that we value our friends, and their prayers. They were particular in prayer. And whatever we pray for, we can expect nothing but as the gift of God's mercies. God gives us leave in prayer to tell our wants and burdens. Their plea with God was, the peril they were in. The mercy Daniel and his fellows prayed for, was bestowed. The fervent prayers of righteous men avail much. Daniel was thankful to God for making known that to him, which saved the lives of himself and his fellows. How much more should we be thankful to God, for making known the great salvation of the soul to those who are not among the worldly wise and prudent!
Verse 21. - And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding. In regard to this verse, Theodotion and the Septuagint only differ in this from the Massoretic text, that they omit the repetition of the word "kings." The Peshitta has a different sense in the middle clause. "He maketh (Peshitta, ma'bed) kings and confirmeth (Peshitta, maqeem) kings" The Syriac translators have evidently read מְחֲעְדֵה (meh 'deh), "to remove," as מְהַעְבֵד (meha'bed), "to make" The utter want of contrast in this reading condemns it. In regard to the Aramaic of this passage, the carrying on of the preformative ה, the sign of the haphel conjugation, is a proof of the early date of the Aramaic. In later Aramaic, ה gives place to א, and א disappears after the other preformative as יַקְטֵל, not יִאֲקְטֵל. Changeth times and seasons. Nebuchadnezzar was anxious lest the time in which he might make advantageous use of the information conveyed by the dream should pass away, and a new "time" be established. Not improbably Nebuchadnezzar, like most heathens, imagined that his gods were limited by some unseen power like the Greek Fate, and, however wishful they might be to be propitious to their worshippers only in certain collocations of the heavenly bodies could they carry out their wish. God, the God of heaven, the God of the despised Hebrews, he it was who arranged the times and the seasons, he made the sun to rise, he makes summer and winter, he leads out the host of the stars, alike the star of Nebo and the star of Marduk. The two words "time" and "season" are nearly synonymous. Perhaps the first is more indefinite than the other. Our own opinion is that the first has more the idea of space of time, and the latter more of point of time; but really they are almost synonymous. He removeth kings, and setteth up kings. In this there seems to be a special reference to the contents of the vision, which showed that in the time to come, not only kings but dynasties were to be set up and overthrown. The former clause regarded God as the God of nature. This looks u pen him as the God of providence, by whom "kings reign, and princes decree justice." He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understand-lag. This address to God goes further. Daniel sees in the faculties and mental acquirements of men the manifestation of God. It is the inspiration of the Almighty that giveth understanding. All the power man has of acquiring knowledge, all the faculty he has for using that knowledge aright, all come from God.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he changeth the times and the season,.... Not only of day and night, summer and winter, and times and seasons of prosperity and adversity; but all the changes and revolutions in states and kingdoms, in all times and ages, are from him; and particularly those pointed at in the following dream, in the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman monarchies:
he removeth kings, and setteth up kings; he is King of kings, and Lord of lords; by him they reign, and continue on their thrones, as long as he pleases; and then he removes them by death or otherwise, and places others in their stead; and who are sometimes raised from a low estate; and this he does in the ordinary course of Providence; see Psalm 75:6 and particularly Daniel might have in view the removal of the Babylonian monarchs, and setting up kings of the race of the Medes and Persians; and then the degrading them, and advancing the Grecians to the height of monarchy; and then reducing of them, and raising the Romans to a greater degree of power and authority; and at last crushing them all in their turns, to make way for the kingdom of his Son:
he giveth wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: an increase of wisdom and knowledge, to wise politicians and counsellors of state, to form wise schemes of peace or war, to make wise laws, and govern kingdoms in a prudent manner; and to wise master builders or ministers of the word, to speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, to diffuse the knowledge of Christ everywhere, and make known the mysteries of grace to the sons of men; particularly to Daniel and his companions, who were wise and knowing men, the interpretation of the king's dream.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. changeth … times … seasons—"He herein gives a general preparatory intimation, that the dream of Nebuchadnezzar is concerning the changes and successions of kingdoms" [Jerome]. The "times" are the phases and periods of duration of empires (compare Da 7:25; 1Ch 12:32; 29:30); the "seasons" the fitting times for their culmination, decline, and fall (Ec 3:1; Ac 1:7; 1Th 5:1). The vicissitudes of states, with their times and seasons, are not regulated by chance or fate, as the heathen thought, but by God.
removed kings—(Job 12:18; Ps 75:6, 7; Jer 27:5; compare 1Sa 2:7, 8).
giveth wisdom—(1Ki 3:9-12; Jas 1:5).
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