|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-13 The greatest men are most open to cares and troubles of mind, which disturb their repose in the night, while the sleep of the labouring man is sweet and sound. We know not the uneasiness of many who live in great pomp, and, as others vainly think, in pleasure also. The king said that his learned men must tell him the dream itself, or they should all be put to death as deceivers. Men are more eager to ask as to future events, than to learn the way of salvation or the path of duty; yet foreknowledge of future events increases anxiety and trouble. Those who deceived, by pretending to do what they could not do, were sentenced to death, for not being able to do what they did not pretend to.
Verse 8. - The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. The versions here do not differ in any essential point. The king now becomes certain of the treasonable purpose of the soothsayers. The word zeban means not so much "gain" as "purchase," "barter." To the king the meaning of their obstinate refusal to submit to his requirements is that they know that some great advantage may be gained by the king, or some great disaster forefended, if he only knows the meaning of this dream, and that if the king does not submit to them and yield up his decree, and, putting his pride under his feet, tell them the dream, the time when its revelation may be taken advantage of may be passed. In these matters everything was supposed to depend on the thing to be done being done precisely at the right conjunction of the planets. His last utterance seems almost to rise to agony, "Because ye see the thing is fixed away from me!" We have the same word (azda) translated here, as in the fifth verse, "gone." As we saw above, its real meaning is rather "fixed," "settled," "determined." His decree had gone out, and he would not - nay, so strongly had he willed at that it was as it' he could not - alter his decision. It has been regarded as bearing on this passage that St. Paul (Ephesians 5:16) uses the same word as that by which the Greek versions translate zeban, "redeeming the time, because the days are evil." The meaning of the apostle is to some extent in contrast to that here. Believers are, as it were, to purchase the time from the evil days. Nebuchadnezzar thought the astrologers were, as it were, meaning by their delays to buy the auspicious moment for the kingdom from under his feet. It is a mistaken idea that he thought they merely wished to gain time. It would I seem, from what we read further of his treatment of Daniel's request lot time, that, had they merely asked for time, Nebuchadnezzar would have granted their request. He had staked his faith in their ability to unfold any mystery on this one test, and they seemed to him obstinately to refuse to submit to it. To believe them unable to reveal the truth that he wished, would be to overturn all the fabric of his faith in the religion of his fathers; therefore, with all the strength of a strong man. and all the blind faith of a fanatic, he will not acknowledge the inability of the soothsayers to tell him his dream; it must be obstinacy, he thinks, that prevents the soothsayers telling him, and that obstinacy must have a sinister purpose. There is a clause in the Septuagint completing this verse, but it is not parallel with any clause in the Massoretic text: "Then just as I have ordered, thus shall it be." This probably is an alternative rendering. Azda is taken in what is now regarded as its meaning - "that which is fixed," or "decreed," in which case this final clause might be rendered, "What is fixed from me is a decree;" and of this the above-mentioned clause is a somewhat free rendering. This interpretation of the clause confirms our view of the situation.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The king answered and said, I know of certainty,.... I see plainly and clearly what you are at, and am fully assured you mean nothing, but that
ye would gain the time: or buy (f), or redeem time, as in Ephesians 5:16, prolong time, put off the answer to longer time; spin out time, as people do in buying and selling; or have it in their possession and power when to answer; and so by gaining time, or being master of it, might hope something would turn up to their advantage, and extricate them out of their present difficulties:
because ye see the thing is gone from me; the dream he could not remember; or because the decree was certain which he had determined concerning them; See Gill on Daniel 2:5.
(f) "quod tempus vos emitis", Pagninus, Munster; "ementes", Montanus; "vos tempus redimere", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. gain … time—literally, "buy." Compare Eph 5:16; Col 4:5, where the sense is somewhat different.
the thing is gone from me—(See on Da 2:5).
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