Daniel 10:1
In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.
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(1) A thing.—A revelation, as Daniel 9:25. The contents of the revelation are specified in the perplexing words, “the thing was true, and the time appointed (comp. Daniel 8:12) was long,” by which is meant apparently that truth and long tribulation were the subject of their vision. “Time appointed” is translated “warfare” (Isaiah 40:2), and is here used in the same sense, meaning “hardship” or “tribulation.” This revelation, however, speaks of the “warfare” which not Israel only, but all God’s people must undergo before the coming of the Messiah in His kingdom.

And he understood.—Comp. Daniel 8:27. It appears from Daniel 12:8 that the whole was not understood by him. Certainly the duration of the tribulation was not clearly revealed to the prophet, though he received enigmatic declarations respecting it (Daniel 12:10, &c.).

I . . . was mourning.—It is needless to suppose that Daniel’s fast was in consequence of some breaches of the passover ritual, of which his people had been guilty. The Jews were involved in troubles, and had committed sins of faithlessness which justified the prophet in turning to God with fasting and praying. At Jerusalem there were the factious oppositions offered to the newly returned colonists, of which we read in the book of Ezra. They experienced the want of spiritual guides (Ezra 2:63) in one very important matter; nor need we doubt that the circumstances mentioned in Ezra 4:1-6 had occasioned many complications. But there was in Israel the sin of faithessness to God’s promises, which grieved the aged seer’s heart. The number of those who had obeyed the prophet’s command, “Go ye forth from Babylon” (Isaiah 48:20), was comparatively insignificant, and those who should have been foremost in leading their fellow-countrymen—namely, the Levites—had preferred the life in Babylon to the trials and hardships of rebuilding their own city (Ezra 2:40; comp. Ezra 8:15).

Daniel 10:1. In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia — That is, the third after the death of Darius. Daniel must now have been above ninety years of age. It is reasonable to suppose that, being a youth when he was carried captive, he must have been at least twenty years of age; and that was seventy-three years before the date of this vision, which was the last Daniel saw, and it is not likely he himself survived it long. A thing was revealed unto Daniel — A revelation of future things (namely, those contained in the two following chapters, to which this is as it were a preface) was made to Daniel. And the thing was true — Or plain, as the word truth, or true, is sometimes taken in the Hebrew. The meaning seems to be, that the things were not revealed to him enigmatically, or symbolically, under the types of a statue, or wild beasts, as they were before; but as it were by an historical recital, and with more particular circumstances than before. It is the usual method of the Holy Spirit, to make the latter prophecies explanatory of the former; and revelation is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The four great empires of the world, which were shown to Nebuchadnezzar in the form of a great image, were again more particularly represented to Daniel in the shape of four great wild beasts. In like manner, the memorable events which were revealed to Daniel, in the vision of the ram and the he-goat, are here again more clearly and explicitly revealed, in this last vision, by an angel; so that this latter prophecy may not improperly be said to be a comment upon, and explanation of, the former. But the time appointed was long — That is, the time when the things revealed were to come to pass, was at a great distance; “and consequently,” says Bishop Newton, “the prophecy must extend further than from the third year of Cyrus to the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, which was not above three hundred and seventy years. In reality,” adds he, “it comprehends many signal events after that time to the end of the world.” And he understood the thing, &c. — He had a clear view of the succession of the Persian and Grecian monarchies, and of the series of the kings of Syria and Egypt under the latter of them; although the remaining parts of the vision were obscure, especially with respect to their final event: see chap. Daniel 12:8.10:1-9. This chapter relates the beginning of Daniel's last vision, which is continued to the end of the book. The time would be long before all would be accomplished; and much of it is not yet fulfilled. Christ appeared to Daniel in a glorious form, and it should engage us to think highly and honourably of him. Let us admire his condescension for us and our salvation. There remained no strength in Daniel. The greatest and best of men cannot bear the full discoveries of the Divine glory; for no man can see it, and live; but glorified saints see Christ as he is, and can bear the sight. How dreadful soever Christ may appear to those under convictions of sin, there is enough in his word to quiet their spirits.In the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia - In regard to Cyrus, see the notes at Isaiah 41:2. In Daniel 1:21, it is said that "Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus." But it is not necessarily implied in that passage that he "died" then. It may mean only that he continued in authority, and was employed, in various ways, as a public officer, until that time. See the note at that passage. For anything that appears, he may have lived several years after, though, for causes now unknown, he may have retired from the court after the accession of Cyrus. This vision may have occurred when he was no longer a public officer, though the whole narrative leads us to suppose that he had not lost his interest in the affairs of the Jewish people. He may have retired on account of age, though his declining years would be naturally devoted to the welfare of his people, and he would embrace any opportunity which he might have of doing them good.

A thing was revealed unto Daniel - A revelation was made to him. The occasion on which it was done is stated in the next verse. It was when he was earnestly engaged in prayer for his people, and when his mind was deeply anxious in regard to their condition.

Whose name was called Belteshazzar - See the notes at Daniel 1:7. The name Belteshazzar was probably that by which he was known in Babylon, and as this prophecy was perhaps published in his own time, the use of this name would serve to identify the author. The name "Daniel" would have been sufficient to give it currency and authority among his own countrymen.

And the thing was true - That is, it would be certainly accomplished. This expresses the deep conviction of the writer that what was revealed in this vision would certainly come to pass. In his own mind there was no doubt that it would be so, though the time extended through many years, and though it could not be expected that it would be complete until long after his own death. Perhaps the declaration here is designed to bring the weight of his own authority and his well-known character to pledge his own word, that what is here said would be accomplished; or, as we should say, to stake his veracity as a prophet and a man, on the fulfillment of what he had affirmed. Such an assertion might be of great use in consoling the minds of the Jews in the troubles that were to come upon their nation.

But the time appointed was long - Margin, "great." There is considerable variety in the translation and interpretation of this passage. The Latin Vulgate renders it, "fortitudo magna." The Greek, "And the power was great." The Syriac, "And the discourse was apprehended with great effort, but he understood the vision." Luther, "And it was of great matters." Lengerke, "And the misery (Elend) is great;" that is, the distress of the people. Bertholdt renders it, "Whose contents pertained to great wars." This variety of interpretation arises from the word rendered in our version "the time appointed" - צבא tsâbâ'. This word properly means an army, host, as going forth to war; then the host of angels, of the stars, and hence, God is so often called "Jehovah of hosts." Then the word means warfare, military service, a hard service, a season of affliction or calamity. See the notes at Job 7:1. It seems to me that this is the meaning here, and that Gesenius (Lexicon) has correctly expressed the idea: "And true is the edict, and "relates to long warfare;" that is, to many calamities to be endured." It was not a thing to be soon accomplished, nor did it pertain to peaceful and easy times, but it had reference to the calamities, the evils, and the hardships of wars - wars attended with the evils to which they are usually incident, and which were to be conducted on a great scale. This interpretation will accord with the details in the following chapters.

And he understood the thing ... - This seems to be said in contradistinction to what had occurred on some other occasions when the meaning of the vision which he saw was concealed from him. Of this he says he had full understanding. The prophecy was, in fact, more clearly expressed than had been usual in the revelations made to Daniel, for this is almost entirely a historical narrative, and there could be little doubt as to its meaning.


Da 10:1-21. Daniel Comforted by an Angelic Vision.

The tenth through twelfth chapters more fully describe the vision in the eighth chapter by a second vision on the same subject, just as the vision in the seventh chapter explains more fully that in the second. The tenth chapter is the prologue; the eleventh, the prophecy itself; and the twelfth, the epilogue. The tenth chapter unfolds the spiritual worlds as the background of the historical world (Job 1:7; 2:1, &c.; Zec 3:1, 2; Re 12:7), and angels as the ministers of God's government of men. As in the world of nature (Joh 5:4; Re 7:1-3), so in that of history here; Michael, the champion of Israel, and with him another angel, whose aim is to realize God's will in the heathen world, resist the God-opposed spirit of the world. These struggles are not merely symbolical, but real (1Sa 16:13-15; 1Ki 22:22; Eph 6:12).

1. third year of Cyrus—two years after Cyrus' decree for the restoration of the Jews had gone forth, in accordance with Daniel's prayer in Da 9:3-19. This vision gives not merely general outlines, or symbols, but minute details of the future, in short, anticipative history. It is the expansion of the vision in Da 8:1-14. That which then "none understood," he says here, "he understood"; the messenger being sent to him for this (Da 10:11, 14), to make him understand it. Probably Daniel was no longer in office at court; for in Da 1:21, it is said, "Daniel continued even unto the first year of King Cyrus"; not that he died then. See on [1099]Da 1:21.

but the time appointed was long—rather, "it (that is, the prophecy) referred to great calamity" [Maurer]; or, "long and calamitous warfare" [Gesenius]. Literally, "host going to war"; hence, warfare, calamity.Daniel, having humbled himself, seeth a glorious vision, and is troubled with fear, Daniel 10:1-9. An angel comforteth him, and, telling him of the opposition of the prince of Persia, the assistance he had from Michael, and the coming in of the prince of Grecia, promiseth him further information, Daniel 10:10-21.

This fell out in the thirty-first year, which was the last year of the kingdom of Persia, but the third year after his seizure and monarchy of Babylon; indeed it is said, Daniel 1:21, that Daniel continued to the first year of Cyrus, i.e. in his place of honour, but he lived much longer.

A thing was revealed unto Daniel; revealed by an angel from heaven, not in a dream, or in any more obscure and uncertain way, but plainly. This chapter is but a general preface to what is more particularly declared in the next chapter.

Belteshazzar: by this name Daniel was famous among many people, and they took notice of him by his honourable place, name, and prophecy.

The thing was true; both in the matter, and that which was truly to come to pass, not feigned, nor a bare conjecture, hman it was truth. The time appointed was long, i.e. for three hundred years’ space, as was said, Daniel 8:26, or to the end of Antiochus’s persecution, or of the world, Daniel 12:2.

And he understood the thing and the vision. This is doubled, to beget the greater credit, and assurance of the truth of it.

In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia,.... Not of his being king of Persia only, but of the Medopersian empire, after he had subdued the Babylonian empire, and annexed it to his dominions; and this is not to be reckoned from the time of his taking Babylon, and putting the government of it into the hands of his uncle Darius, with whom he jointly reigned; but from the time of his uncle's death, when he was sole monarch of the whole empire: he reigned thirty years, as Cicero (t), from a Persian writer, relates; which is to be reckoned from the time of his being appointed by his uncle commander-in-chief of the Persian and Median armies; for from his taking of Babylon to his death were but nine years; and so many years the canon of Ptolemy assigns to his reign, taking in the two years he reigned with his uncle; for from his being sole monarch, after the death of Cyaxares, or Darius the Mede his uncle, were but seven years; which, according to Xenophon (u), is the whole of his reign, who reckons it from thence; and it was in the third of these that Daniel had the visions contained in this and the two following chapters; which, according to Bishop Usher (w), and Dean Prideaux (x), was in the year of the world 3470 A.M. and 534 B.C. Mr. Bedford (y) places it in the year 533 B.C.: how long Daniel 54ed after this is not certain; very probably he died quickly after, since he must be in a very advanced age; for the third year of Cyrus being the seventy third of his captivity, as Dean Prideaux (z) observes; and if he was eighteen years of age, as that learned man thinks is the least that can be supposed at the time of his carrying into Babylon, he must have been in the ninety first year of his age at this time; or if he was but fifteen years of age at that time, which is the opinion of Aben Ezra on Daniel 1:4, he must be in the third year of Cyrus eighty eight years of age. The Dutch annotators observe, that Daniel 54ed in the court of Babylon above seventy seven years, which will carry his age to a greater length still. Jarchi on Daniel 1:21 asserts Daniel to be the same with Hatach in Esther 4:5 and so the Targum on that place, who lived in the times of Ahasuerus, supposed to be Xerxes: now between the third of Cyrus, and the beginning of Xerxes's reign, is mentioned a space of seventy one years, which, added to the least number eighty eight before given, will make Daniel now to be one hundred and fifty nine years old, when Ahasuerus or Xerxes began his reign; which is not only an age unfit for such business Hatach was employed in; but agrees not with the period in which Daniel 54ed, when it was not usual for men to live so long, and must be exploded as fabulous:

a thing was revealed unto Daniel; a secret, which he otherwise could never have known; and which was a singular favour to him, and showed him to be a friend of God, a favourite of his; and this respected the Persian and Grecian monarchies; the various kings of Egypt and Syria, and what should befall them; and the times of Antiochus, and the troubles the Jews would have through him:

(whose name was called Belteshazzar); a name given him by the prince of the eunuchs; see Daniel 1:7,

and the thing was true; was not a false vision, a mere fancy of the brain, an empty conjecture, a delusion of the mind, like the divination and soothsaying of the Gentiles, but a real thing, that was sure and certain, and would be fulfilled, and might be depended upon: but the time appointed was long; ere the whole would be accomplished; for it reached to the times of Antiochus, three hundred years after this, yea, to the resurrection of the dead, and the end of all things: or, "a great host", or "army" (a); a vast appearance of things were represented to him; not a host of angels, as Saadiah; but a vast number of facts, like an army of them, and which respected armies and battles; or it may denote the force, power, and efficacy of the word that was true, which should not fail, but be certainly fulfilled:

and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision; that is, Daniel understood "the word" (b), or words of the prophecy, in which it was expressed; they were clear and plain, and not obscure, dark, and doubtful; and he had a clear view of each of the parts of it, of the whole series of things, the connection of facts, and their dependence on one another, and their certain accomplishment; he saw them in their order, as they were presented to him in vision and prophecy; and was not at any loss about the meaning of any part of them, or the words by which they were signified.

(t) De Divinatione, l. 1.((u) Cyropaedia, l. 8. c. 45. (w) Annales Vet. Test. A. M. 3470. (x) Connexion, &c. par. 1. p. 161, 162. (y) Scripture Chronology, p. 718. (z) Ut supra. (Connexion, &c. par. 1. p. 161, 162) (a) "et militia magna", Pagninus, Montanus, Gejerus; "militia seu belligeratio ingens", Michaelis. (b) "verbum", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster.

In the {a} third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was {b} long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.

(a) He notes this third year, because at this time the building of the temple began to be hindered by Cambyses, Cyrus's son, when the father made war in Asia minor against the Scythians, which was discouraging to the godly, and fearful to Daniel.

(b) Which is to declare that the godly should not hasten too much, but patiently abide the fulfilment of God's promise.

1. king of Persia] A title, not borne by the Persian kings while the Persian empire still lasted, though often given to them after it had passed away, as a mark of distinction from the Greek rulers who then followed[356].

[356] See the writer’s Introduction, p. 511 f. with p. 512, n. 3 (ed. 6, p. 545, with p. 546, n. *).

a thing] or, a word: cf. Daniel 9:23 b, and (Aram.) Daniel 4:33.

Belteshazzar] See on Daniel 1:7; and cf. Daniel 5:12.

and the word (is) true, and a great warfare] The revelation is true (cf. Daniel 8:26), and relates besides to a period of severe hardship and trial. ‘Warfare’ has the same figurative sense which it has in Isaiah 40:2; Job 7:1; Job 14:14 (A.V. in Job, as here, appointed time, following the interpretation of Kimchi; R.V. rightly warfare, figuratively of the hardships of life).

and he understood &c.] and he gave heed unto the word.Verses 1-21. - THE ANGELS OF THE NATIONS. The three chapters (10, 11, and 12.) form a section apart from the rest of Daniel. One marked peculiarity is the long and very old interpolation which occupies nearly the whole of ch. 11. Not improbably something has dropped out, and. not a few things have been modified in consequence of this interpolation. Verse 1. - In the third year of Cyrus King of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long; and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision. The Septuagint rendering is, "In the first year of Cyrus King of the Persians." This is at variance with all other versions. As, however, these other versions are derived from the Palestinian recension, they unitedly do not much more than counterbalance the LXX, "A decree (πρόσταγμα) was revealed to Daniel who was called Beltasar, and the vision is true and the decree." This is a case of doublet. Evidently some Egyptian manuscripts read חָזון (hazon) instead of חַדָּבָר (haddabar), and this, or the rendering of it, has slipped into the text from the margin. "And a strong multitude understood the decree." The translator here has had יבין, not ובין, before him. Aquila has the same reading; here צָבָא (tzaba) is taken in its usual sense of "host," "And I understood it in vision." Here the LXX. has לִי instead of לו. From the fact that the first person appears in the next verse, there is at least a probability in favour of this reading. Theodotion is, as usual, closer to the Massoretic. צָבָא is rendered δύναμις. The text before him has had הוּבין, the hophal, instead of ובין, which is possibly the kal. The Peshitta seems to have used a text practically identical with that of the Massoretes; the same is true of the Vulgate. The Peshitta renders צָבָא by heel, and the Vulgate by fortitudo. In the third year of Cyrus. The various reading of the Septuagint is of value. It is not to be dismissed as due to a desire to harmonize this date with that in Daniel 1:21, for the numeral "third" might easily be an accidental mistake present in some few Palestinian manuscripts due to the beginning of the eighth chapter. The first chapter, as we have seen, has many traces that it is at once an epitome and a compilation. It is evident that the writer in the first chapter would have the rest of the book before him, and would mean to harmonize his statements with that of the chapter before us. It seems difficult to imagine that the compiler of the first chapter could have this statement before him, and yet write as he did. We should therefore be inclined to leave the question doubtful. Even if it should be admitted that the Massoretic date is correct, as we have already seen, the difficulties created are by no means insuperable. Hitzig has made it a difficulty that Daniel did not avail himself of the permission to return to his own country, granted by Cyrus. Professor Bevan says, "For those who believe Daniel to be an ideal figure, no explanation is necessary." In that assertion he is mistaken. If Daniel were presented as an ideal Jew, why does he not conform to the ideal of Judaism? The statement that Daniel was a man of nearly ninety years of age at the date of Cyrus's proclamation is a sufficient answer to this difficulty. Hitzig thinks he rebuts this answer of Havernick's by referring to the old men (Ezra 3:12) who remembered the former temple; but these might have been children of ten or twelve when they were carried away captive eighteen years after Daniel, and thus might not be more than sixty when Cyrus's decree came. Further, we know that only a very limited number of Jews returned, and that so many of the best of the Jews remained that it was declared that the chaff came to Jerusalem, but that the finest of the wheat remained in Babylon. A thing was revealed unto Daniel whose name was called Belteshazzar. "Thing" is the general term dabar, which means sometimes "decree," sometimes "word," or sometimes, as rendered by the Authorized, " thing." As Professor Fuller remarks, this is to be taken as the title of the rest of the remaining sections. The recurrence of the Babylonian name "Belteshazzar" may be due to the recency of the overthrow of the Babylonian monarchy. And the thing was true, but the time appointed was long. Hitzig thinks that in the first clause the author betrays his standpoint, as he would not know the thing was true till fact had proved it so. But, besides that an editor might have added this clause, a man might well be certain of the truth of a thing he had got from God; he might wish to impress this upon his hearers. The last clause here is certainly mistranslated in the Authorized. The time appointed was long. צָבָא (tzaba) never means "appointed time," although it is twice translated so in Job, as here; but in all these cases with greater accuracy render "warfare." With this sense is to be compared the use we find in Numbers 15:23-43, where the Levites' service in the sanctuary is called צָבָא (tzaba). If we are to keep to the Massoretic reading, then the rendering of the Revised is really the only one to be thought cf. Professor Bevan, following Ewald, thinking that tzaba means in ch. 8:1:4 "temple service," would apply this meaning here. As we saw, in considering that verse, the word there was of very doubtful authenticity, we need not apply that meaning here, as it would only suit by being twisted into "obligation." Hitzig, Kranichfeld, Zockler, Keil, and others regard this word as meaning "difficulty," "oppression." Something may, however, be said for the Septuagint rendering, all the more that it was adopted by Aquila. According to these renderings, we conjoin these words, great hosts, צָבָא גָדול, with the next, which they understand read as third person singular imperfect kal, or omit the conjunction, "And a great multitude understood the decree." "The host" in this interpretation would here naturally mean "the host of heaven." We find that throughout this chapter, and in the twelfth, we have to do with the angels, so it is natural that in this title and summary of what is to follow the fact that the great host of heaven understood this mystery should be stated. Theodotion's rendering, "power," though supported by Jerome in the Vulgate, need not detain us. The view of Jephet-ibn-Ali is that the host may be of Edom, probably meaning by this Rome. And he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision. This is a fairly correct rendering of the Hebrew. Von Lengerke would make the verbs imperative, which certainly they might be, so far as form goes, but the intrusion of imperatives here into the title of a section seems violent. The main difficulty, moreover, is not touched. As they stand, these two clauses assert the same thing, and if with Yon Lengerke we make them both imperatives, we have the difficulty still present with us. It may be a case of "doublet." This is an hypothesis we scarcely would adopt except in necessity, since the Septuagint has both clauses. Theodotion, however, has only one of them. We feel ourselves inclined to follow the reading of the Septuagint. The angels understood the matter, and he - Daniel - understood it also by the vision. In this verse there is a brief comprehensive statement regarding the fulfilment of the dream to the king, which is then extended from v. 26 to 30. At the end of twelve months, i.e., after the expiry of twelve months from the time of the dream, the king betook himself to his palace at Babylon, i.e., to the flat roof of the palace; cf. 2 Samuel 11:2. The addition at Babylon does not indicate that the king was then living at a distance from Babylon, as Berth., v. Leng., Maur., and others imagine, but is altogether suitable to the matter, because Nebuchadnezzar certainly had palaces outside of Babylon, but it is made with special reference to the language of the king which follows regarding the greatness of Babylon. ענה means here not simply to begin to speak, but properly to answer, and suggests to us a foregoing colloquy of the king with himself in his own mind. Whether one may conclude from that, in connection with the statement of time, after twelve months, that Nebuchadnezzar, exactly one year after he had received the important dream, was actively engaging himself regarding that dream, must remain undetermined, and can be of no use to a psychological explanation of the occurrence of the dream. The thoughts which Nebuchadnezzar expresses in v. 26 (Daniel 4:29) are not favourable to such a supposition. Had the king remembered that dream and its interpretation, he would scarcely have spoken so proudly of his splendid city which he had built as he does in v. 27 (Daniel 4:30).

When he surveyed the great and magnificent city from the top of his palace, "pride overcame him," so that he dedicated the building of this great city as the house of his kingdom to the might of his power and the honour of his majesty. From the addition רבּתא it does not follow that this predicate was a standing Epitheton ornans of Babylon, as with חמת , Amos 6:2, and other towns of Asia; for although Pausanias and Strabo call Babylon μεγάλη and μεγίστη πόλις, yet it bears this designation as a surname in no ancient author. But in Revelation 14:8 this predicate, quoted from the passage before us, is given to Babylon, and in the mouth of Nebuchadnezzar it quite corresponds to the self-praise of his great might by which he had built Babylon as the residence of a great king. בּנה designates, as בּנה more frequently, not the building or founding of a city, for the founding of Babylon took place in the earliest times after the Flood (Genesis 11), and was dedicated to the god Belus, or the mythic Semiramis, i.e., in the pre-historic time; but בּנה means the building up, the enlargement, the adorning of the city מלכוּ לבּית, for the house of the kingdom, i.e., for a royal residence; cf. The related expression ממלכה בּית, Amos 7:13. בּית stands in this connection neither for town nor for היכל (Daniel 4:29), but has the meaning dwelling-place. The royalty of the Babylonian kingdom has its dwelling-place, its seat, in Babylon, the capital of the kingdom.

With reference to the great buildings of Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon, vide the statements of Berosus in Josephi Ant. x. 11, 1, and con. Ap. i. 19, and of Abydenus in Eusebii praepar. evang. ix. 41, and Chron. i. p. 59; also the delineation of these buildings in Duncker's Gesch. des Alterth. i. p. 854ff. The presumption of this language appears in the words, "by the strength of my might, and for the splendour (honour) of my majesty." Thus Nebuchadnezzar describes himself as the creator of his kingdom and of its glory, while the building up of his capital as a residence bearing witness to his glory and his might pointed at the same time to the duration of his dynasty. This proud utterance is immediately followed by his humiliation by the omnipotent God. A voice fell from heaven. נפל as in Isaiah 9:7, of the sudden coming of a divine revelation. אמרין for the passive, as Daniel 3:4. The perf. עדּת denotes the matter as finished. At the moment when Nebuchadnezzar heard in his soul the voice from heaven, the prophecy begins to be fulfilled, the king becomes deranged, and is deprived of his royalty.

Daniel 4:29-30 (Daniel 4:32-33)


The fulfilling of the dream.

Nebuchadnezzar narrates the fulfilment of the dream altogether objectively, so that he speaks of himself in the third person. Berth., Hitz., and others find here that the author falls out of the role of the king into the narrative tone, and thus betrays the fact that some other than the king framed the edict. But this conclusion is opposed by the fact that Nebuchadnezzar from v. 31 speaks of his recovery again in the first person. Thus it is beyond doubt that the change of person has its reason in the matter itself. Certainly it could not be in this that Nebuchadnezzar thought it unbecoming to speak in his own person of his madness; for if he had had so tender a regard for his own person, he would not have published the whole occurrence in a manifesto addressed to his subjects. But the reason of his speaking of his madness in the third person, as if some other one were narrating it, lies simply in this, that in that condition he was not Ich equals Ego (Kliefoth). With the return of the Ich, I, on the recovery from his madness, Nebuchadnezzar begins again to narrate in the first person (v. 31 34).

Here the contents of the prophecy, v. 22 (v. 25), are repeated, and then in v. 30 (v. 33) it is stated that the word regarding Nebuchadnezzar immediately began to be fulfilled. On שׁעתא בהּ, cf. Daniel 3:6. ספת, from סוּף, to go to an end. The prophecy goes to an end when it is realized, is fulfilled. The fulfilling is related in the words of the prophecy. Nebuchadnezzar is driven from among men, viz., by his madness, in which he fled from intercourse with men, and lived under the open air of heaven as a beast among the beasts, eating grass like the cattle; and his person was so neglected, that his hair became like the eagles' fathers and his nails like birds' claws. כּנשׁרין and כּצפּרין are abbreviated comparisons; vide under Daniel 4:16. That this condition was a peculiar appearance of the madness is expressly mentioned in v. 31 (Daniel 4:34), where the recovery is designated as the restoration of his understanding.

This malady, in which men regard themselves as beasts and imitate their manner of life, is called insania zoanthropica, or, in the case of those who think themselves wolves, lycanthropia. The condition is described in a manner true to nature. Even "as to the eating of grass," as G. Rsch, in the Deutsch. Morgenl. Zeitschr. xv. p. 521, remarks, "there is nothing to perplex or that needs to be explained. It is a circumstance that has occurred in recent times, as e.g., in the case of a woman in the Wrttemberg asylum for the insane." Historical documents regarding this form of madness have been collected by Trusen in his Sitten, Gebr. u. Krank. der alten Hebrer, p. 205f., 2nd ed., and by Friedreich in Zur Bibel, i. p. 308f.

(Note: Regarding the statement, "his hair grew as the feathers of an eagle," etc., Friedr. remarks, p. 316, that, besides the neglect of the external appearance, there is also to be observed the circumstance that sometimes in psychical maladies the nails assume a peculiarly monstrous luxuriance with deformity. Besides, his remaining for a long time in the open air is to be considered, "for it is an actual experience that the hair, the more it is exposed to the influences of the rough weather and to the sun's rays, the more does it grow in hardness, and thus becomes like unto the feathers of an eagle.")

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