The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man on the earth that can show the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)No king.—A further argument of the wise men, offering a delicate flattery to the king, and, at the same time, assuming as a proof of their wisdom, that all possibilities had been already submitted to them. “Because no king,” they say, “has left any precedent for such a request, therefore the thing is impossible.”Daniel 2:10-11. The Chaldeans answered, There is not a man upon the earth that can show the king’s matter — Here the wise men are driven to acknowledge their inability, and their excuse is, that they could indeed tell what dreams signified, if the dreams were told them; but as to telling what a person had dreamed, it was above the power of any art or knowledge but that of the gods, who knew all things. But this reasoning was weak, and showed the king’s accusation to be just, namely, that they had prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before him; or, that their business and skill were only to invent or affix such interpretations of dreams as they thought suitable, without having any real knowledge at all of future things.Daniel 2:2. On such an occasion, those would be likely to be put forward to announce their inability to do this who would be supposed to be able to interpret the dream, if any could, and on whom most reliance was usually placed.
There is not a man upon the earth that can show the king's matter - Chaldee, על־יבשׁתא ‛al-yabeshethâ' - "upon the dry ground." Compare Genesis 1:10. The meaning is, that the thing was utterly beyond the power of man. It was what none who practiced the arts of divining laid claim to. They doubtless supposed that as great proficients in that art as the world could produce might be found among the wise men assembled at the court of Babylon, and if they failed, they inferred that all others would fail. This was, therefore, a decided confession of their inability in the matter; but they meant to break the force of that mortifying confession, and perhaps to appease the wrath of the king, by affirming that the thing was wholly beyond the human powers, and that no one could be expected to do what was demanded.
Therefore" there is "no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things - No one has ever made a similar demand. The matter is so clear, the incompetency of man to make such a disclosure is so manifest, that no potentate of any rank ever made such a request. They designed, undoubtedly, to convince the king that the request was so unreasonable that he would not insist on it. They were urgent, for their life depended on it, and they apprehended that they had justice on their side.
therefore, &c.—that is, If such things could be done by men, other absolute princes would have required them from their magicians; as they have not, it is proof such things cannot be done and cannot be reasonably asked from us.
there is not a man upon the earth can show the king's matter; or, "upon the dry land" (g): upon the continent, throughout the whole world, in any country whatever; not one single man can be found, be he ever so wise and learned, that can show the king what he requires; and yet Daniel afterwards did; and so it appears, by this confession, that he was greater than they, or any other of the same profession with them: this is one argument they use to convince the king of the unreasonableness of his demand; it being such that no man on earth was equal to; another follows:
therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler; there neither is, nor never was, any potentate or prince, be who he will; whether, as Jacchiades distinguishes them, a "king" over many provinces, whose empire is very large; or "lord" over many cities; or "ruler" over many villages belonging to one city; in short, no man of power and authority, whether supreme or subordinate:
that asked things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean; never was such a thing required of any before; no instance, they suggest, could be produced in ancient history, or in the present age, in any kingdom or court under the heavens, of such a request being made; or that anything of this kind was ever insisted upon; and therefore hoped the king would not insist upon it; and which no doubt was true: Pharaoh required of his wise men to tell him the interpretation of his dream, but not the dream itself.The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)10. shew] declare.
therefore, &c.] forasmuch as (R.V.) no great and powerful king (cf. R.V. marg.) hath asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. As no king has ever thought of making such a demand, it may be fairly concluded to be one which it is impossible to satisfy.Verse 10. - The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can show the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean. It is to be noted, in the first place, that we have the same Syriac form of כַּשְׂדָיֵא. This seems to us a survival from an earlier condition of the text, when the Syriac forms were predominant, if not universal, in it. Scribes accustomed to speak and write in Chaldee would naturally harmonize the text to the language they were accustomed to use. The word "saying" ("and said," Authorized Version) is omitted from the. Septuagint, but it is found in all other versions: its omission in the Septuagint may have been due to error - the Aramaic is not complete without it. לָא־אִתַי (la-'itha), "there is not." The ordinary Targumic and Talmudic usage is לַיִת (layith), "is not." one word. This full way of writing this negative form is an undeniable proof of antiquity. Neither Levy nor Castell gives any example of the full writing which is the regular practice in Biblical Aramaic. Merx, 'Chrestomath. Targ.,' 168, 225, also gives only לית. As a rule, the fuller a form is, the older it is. Earth; literally, dry groined- the same word as is used in the Targum of Genesis, "Let the dry land appear," but not the usual word for "the world." Theodotion, in accordance, translates ξηρᾶς; the LXX. renders merely, ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. The Peshitta has (ar'a). The king's matter (mil-lath malea); literally, the king's word, which, consequently, Theodotion translates ῤῆμα. The LXX renders, "to tell the king that which he has seen." It is evident that he read milbdh, as it' derived from melal, "to speak," as lemallala. The rendering, "that which he has seen," is due to reading ל (l) into ד (d); the verb heva was read heza, and then the change in meaning be. conies intelligible. Therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler. The mote natural interpretation of the Aramaic is, "There is no king great and powerful." Some have regarded ral, ushlat as a title of the King of Babylon, but this does not seem to be borne out by inscriptions. The sense is rather that of 1he marginal rendering, "There is no king be he never so great and powerful." Then-dotion has this reading. The Septuagint renders, "no king and no ruler (πᾶς βασιλεὺς καὶ πᾶς δυνάστης...οὐκ)," reading כול (eol) for רב (rab). The Peshitta follows the Massoretic closely here. In this connection, it may be observed, שליט (shaleet) is not frequent in the Targums, but it occurs in the Peshitta. That asked such things. Kidnah, "like this." This form of the demonstration, ending with ה (h), instead of א, is regarded as older than the Targumic form. Theodotion inserts ῤῆμα here. At any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. The first thing that strikes the reader of the Aramaic, and for that matter the other versions, is the omission of one of the classes of soothsayers - that called "sorcerers" in our Authorized Version. We saw that, according to the Septuagint, the" Chaldeans" were not a separate college of augurs or soothsayers. When we look atlentively at the Aramaic, the reason of the presence of "Chaldeans" here, and the absence of "sorcerers" becomes probable. In the first place, כשדיא is written without the א, as singular. When so written, its resemblance to מְכַשֵׁפ (mekashshaph) suggests the question whether there might not be, occupying this place, an Aramaic noun equivalent to ashshaph, which we see is really Assyrian, and, interpreting it we find mekashshaph put thus after ashshaph elsewhere, but omitted here. The solution of' the omission of mekashshaph is the likeness the latter part of the word bears to Kusdt, especially in the script of Egypt, in which כ and א were very like each other. These assembled wise men protest against the test to which the king would put them as essentially unfair. They had been trained to divine the future from dreams, but never to find out dreams by what they had learned from their airs the future would be; and in proof of this they urge that no king, however great, had made such a demand of any astrologer or soothsayer. Nay, they go further, and say that no man upon the earth is able to tell the king what he wishes. They endeavour to make the king see that what he asks is an impossibility.
Ezekiel 45:18. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, In the first (month), on the first of the month, thou shalt take a bullock, a young ox without blemish, and absolve the sanctuary. Ezekiel 45:19. And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin-offering, and put it upon the door-posts of the house, and upon the four corners of the enclosure of the altar, and upon the door-posts at the gate of the inner court. Ezekiel 45:20. And so shalt thou do on the seventh of the month, for the sake of erring men and of folly, that so ye may make atonement for the house. - The Mosaic law had prescribed for the new moons generally the sin-offering of a he-goat, in addition to the burnt-offerings and meat-offerings (Numbers 28:15); and, besides, this, had also distinguished the new-moon's day of the seventh month by a special feast-offering to be added to the regular new-moon's sacrifices, and consisting of a sin-offering of a he-goat, and burnt-offerings and meat-offerings (Numbers 29:2-6). This distinguishing of the seventh month by a special new-moon's sacrifice is omitted in Ezekiel; but in the place of it the first month is distinguished by a sin-offering to be presented on the first and seventh days. Nothing is said in Ezekiel 45:18-20 about burnt-offerings for these days; but as the burnt-offering is appointed in Ezekiel 46:6-7 for the new-moon's day without any limitation, and the regulations as to the connection between the meat-offering and the burnt-offerings are repeated in Ezekiel 46:11 for the holy days and feast days (הגּים וּמועדים) generally, and the new-moon's day is also reckoned among the מועדים, there is evidently good ground for the assumption that the burnt-offering and meat-offering prescribed for the new moon in Ezekiel 46:6-7 were also to be offered at the new moon of the first month. On the other hand, no special burnt-offering or meat-offering is mentioned for the seventh day of the first month; so that in all probability only the daily burnt-offering and meat-offering were added upon that day (Ezekiel 46:13.) to the sin-offering appointed for it. Moreover, the sin-offerings prescribed for the first and seventh days of the first month are distinguished from the sin-offerings of the Mosaic law, partly by the animal selected (a young bullock), and partly by the disposal of the blood. According to the Mosaic law, the sin-offering for the new moons, as well as for all the feast days of the year, the Passover, Pentecost, day of trumpets, day of atonement, and feast of tabernacles (all eight days), was to be a he-goat (Numbers 28:15; Numbers 22:30; Numbers 29:5, Numbers 29:11, Numbers 29:16, Numbers 29:19, Numbers 29:22, Numbers 29:25, Numbers 29:28, Numbers 29:31, Numbers 29:34, Numbers 29:38). Even the sin-offering for the congregation of Israel on the great day of atonement simply consisted in a he-goat (or two he-goats, Leviticus 16:5); and it was only for the sin-offering for the high priest, whether on that day (Leviticus 16:3), or when he had sinned so as to bring guilt upon the nation (Leviticus 4:3), or when the whole congregation had sinned (Leviticus 4:14), that a bullock was required. On the other hand, according to Ezekiel, the sin-offering both on the first and seventh days of the first month, and also the one to be brought by the prince on the fourteenth day of that month, i.e., on the day of the feast of Passover (Ezekiel 45:22), for himself and for all the people, were to consist of a bullock and only the sin-offering on the seven days of the feast of Passover and tabernacles of a he-goat (Ezekiel 45:23, Ezekiel 45:25). The Mosaic law contains no express instructions concerning the sprinkling of the blood of the sin-offering at the new moons and feasts (with the exception of the great atoning sacrifice on the day of atonement), because it was probably the same as in the case of the sin-offerings for the high priest and the whole congregation, when the blood was first of all to be sprinkled seven times against the curtain in front of the capporeth, and then to be applied to the horns of the altar of incense, and the remainder to be poured out at the foot of the altar of burnt-offering (Leviticus 4:6-7, Leviticus 4:17-18); whereas, in the case of the great atoning sacrifice on the day of atonement, some of the blood was first of all to be sprinkled at or upon the front side of the capporeth and seven times upon the ground, and after that it was to be applied to the horns of the altar of incense and of the altar of burnt-offering (Leviticus 16:15-17). But according to Ezekiel, some of the blood of the sin-offerings on the first and seventh days of the first month, and certainly also on the same days of the feasts of Passover and tabernacles, was to be smeared upon the posts of the house - that is to say, the posts mentioned in Ezekiel 41:21, not merely those of the היכל, the door into the holy place, but also those of the קדשׁ, the door leading into the most holy place, upon the horns and the four corners of the enclosure of the altar of burnt-offering (Ezekiel 43:20), and upon the posts of the gate of the inner court. It is a point in dispute here whether שׁער החצר is only one door, and in that case whether the east gate of the inner court is to be understood as in Ezekiel 46:2 (מזוּזת השּׁער), as Hitzig and others suppose, or whether שׁער rehtehw is to be taken in a collective sense as signifying the three gates of the inner court (Kliefoth and others). The latter view is favoured by the collective use of the word מזוּזה by itself, and also by the circumstance that if only one of the three gates were intended, the statement which of the three would hardly have been omitted (cf. Ezekiel 46:1; Ezekiel 44:1, etc.).
According to Ezekiel 45:18, these sin-offerings were to serve for the absolving of the sanctuary; and according to Ezekiel 45:20, to make atonement for the temple on account of error or folly. Both directions mean the same thing. The reconciliation of the temple was effected by its absolution or purification from the sins that had come upon it through the error and folly of the people. Sins בּשׁגגה are sins occasioned by the weakness of flesh and blood, for which expiation could be made by sin-offerings (see the comm. on Leviticus 4:2 and Numbers 15:22.). מאישׁ שׁגה, lit., away from the erring man, i.e., to release him from his sin. This expression is strengthened by מפּתי, away from simplicity or folly; here, as in Proverbs 7:7, as abstractum pro concreto, the simple man. - The great expiatory sacrifice on the day of atonement answered the same purpose, the absolution of the sanctuary from the sins of the people committed בּשׁגגה (Leviticus 16:16.).
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