Daniel 2:12
For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) This order to massacre the wise men extended apparently only to those who were resident in the city of Babylon, where they had a fixed habitation. Though Daniel had been already trained in their schools, he had not as yet been appointed “a wise man.” However, being a student, his death was implied in the general order, which, as appears from Daniel 2:13, had already begun to be executed.

Daniel 2:12-13. For this cause the king was angry and very furious, &c. — The king, in his rage and fury, probably did not think of sending for Daniel, which made Daniel try to get admission to the king, Daniel 2:14, to prevent his own destruction, as well as that of the other wise men. And they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain — Though, as it appears, they had not been summoned with the wise men of Chaldea. This was extremely unjust to Daniel and his companions; for it is highly probable they would have received no share of the gifts, and rewards, and great honour, which the other wise men would have received could they have told the king’s dream, therefore they ought not to have been involved in their punishment. But those concerned in the execution of the decree, being armed with power, did not attend to the voice of justice: absolute power, indeed, too seldom does.

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.For this cause the king was angry - Because they failed in explaining the subject which had been referred to them. It is true that his anger was unjust, for their profession did not imply that they would undertake to explain what he demanded, but his wrath was not unnatural. His mind was alarmed, and he was troubled. He believed that what he had seen in his dream foreboded some important events, and, as an arbitrary sovereign, unaccustomed to restrain his anger or to inquire into the exact jusrice of matters which excited Iris indignation, it was not unnatural that he should resolve to wreak his vengeance on all who made any pretensions to the arts of divining.

And very furious - Wrought up to the highest degree of passion. Chaldee, "Much enraged." It was not a calm and settled purpose to execute his threat, but a purpose attended with a high degree of excitement.

And commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon - That is, all who made pretensions to this kind of wisdom; all who came under the wellknown denomination of "wise men," or "sages." He had called that class before him Daniel 2:2; he had demanded of them an explanation of his dream; he had been assured by the leading men among them, the Chaldeans Daniel 2:10-11, that they could not recall his dream; and, as he supposed that all who could be relied on in such a case had failed, he resolved to cut them off as impostors.

Where Daniel was at this time is not known. It would seem, however, that from some reason he had not been summoned before the king with the others, probably because, although he had shown himself to be eminently endowed with wisdom Daniel 1:20, he had not yet made any pretensions to this kind of knowledge, and was not numbered with the Magi, or Chaldeans. When, however, the decree went forth that "all" the "wise men of Babylon" should be slain, the exhibition of wisdom and knowledge made by him Daniel 1:18-20 was recollected, and the executioners of the sentence supposed that tie and his companions were included in the general instructions. Whether the word "Babylon" here relates to the city of Babylon, or to the whole realm, there is no certain way of determining. Considering, however, the character of Oriental despotisms, and the cruelty to which absolute sovereigns have usually been transported in their passion, there would be no improbability in supposing that the command included the whole realm, though it is probable that most of this class would be found in the capital.

12, 13. Daniel and his companions do not seem to have been actually numbered among the Magi or Chaldeans, and so were not summoned before the king. Providence ordered it so that all mere human wisdom should be shown vain before His divine power, through His servant, was put forth. Da 2:24 shows that the decree for slaying the wise men had not been actually executed when Daniel interposed. Tyrants are inexorable, and they rule according to their will, and being crossed they are furious, and that brings forth death; the wrath of such is the roaring of a lion.

For this cause the king was angry, and very furious,.... Not only because they could not tell his dream, and the interpretation of it; but because they represented him as requiring a thing unreasonable and impossible, which had never been done by any potentate but himself, and could never be answered but by the gods: this threw him into an excess of wrath and fury; which in those tyrannical and despotic princes was exceeding great and terrible:

and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon; not only those that were now in his presence, but all others; concluding from this instance that they were an useless set of men, yea, deceivers and impostors.

For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. wise men] of those versed in occult arts, as Genesis 41:8; Jeremiah 50:35 (of Babylon), and several times in the sequel (cf. p. 15). Similarly wisdom, Isaiah 47:10 (of Babylon), and ch. Daniel 1:17; Daniel 1:20.

Verse 12. - For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. The Septuagint rendering differs little in sense from the above, but in words it does considerably, "Then the king, becoming gloomy and very grieved, commanded that they lead out all the wise men of Babylonia." The main thing to be observed is the softening of the meaning in the hands of the Septuagint translator. This is so great as to suggest that he read לָהוזָלה instead of לְהובָדָה. The aphel of אזל is not used in Chaldee, but is used in Syriac. Theodotion's rendering is, "Then the king in anger and wrath commanded to destroy all the wise meal of Babylon." The Syriac has a shade of difference, "Then was the king vehemently enraged, and in great fury commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon." It is evident that Theodotion read בְנַס (benas), "was angry," as if it were the preposition ב and the Syriac noun נַס (has), "anger." He also must have inserted the preposition before קְצַפ (qetzaph), "wrath;" in this he is followed by the Peshitta. The Septuagint is freer in its rendering in this verse, and one cannot argue anything from it. The probability seems to be that נַס; (nas) is used as a noun, and that the Targamic verb was formed from the mistake of a scribe dropping the preposition before קְצַפ (qetzaph). If we are correct in this, we have an additional evidence that the original languagge of Daniel was not Chaldee, but Syriac, or, at all events, Eastern Aramaic. As a grammatical note, we direct attention to the form לְהובָדָה, where the א of the root has totally disappeared before the ה of the haphel, the equivalent in Biblical Aramaic of the Chaldee and Syriac aphel with its preformative א . Professor Bevan says that this distinction is only a matter of orthography. Are we to deduce that Professor Bevan has a cockney disregard for hs? The writer now drops reference to special classes of wise men, and names them generally hakeemin. The king is unconvinced of the truth of these wise men (hakeemin), or rather he is convinced that they are traitors and deceivers. They are either concealing from him the knowledge they have, and are, therefore, traitors to him; or the gods have withdrawn from them, and therefore they must have been untrue to the gods. On both these grounds Nebuchadnezzar thinks them worthy of death. He at once issues the decree that all the wise men in the city of Babylon should be slain. If the LXX. reading of Daniel 2:2 be correct, he had only summoned the Chaldean wise men. If all the wise men of Babylon were ordered to be slain, the punishment is extended beyond the offence. Possibly he argued, "If even my fellow-countrymen, the Chaldeans, are traitors, much more will the Babylonians be so." So far as words go, it is doubtful whether this decree applies to the province of Babylonia, as the Septuagint translator thinks, or merely to those in the city. But cruel and furious as was the young conqueror, he was scarcely likely to order the wholesale massacre of those who, in Sippara and Borsippa, had neither refused to do what he wished, nor by implication called him an unreasonable tyrant, as had the wise men in Babylon. Daniel 2:12להן, but only, see under Daniel 2:6. In the words, whose dwelling is not with flesh, there lies neither the idea of higher and of inferior gods, nor the thought that the gods only act among men in certain events (Hv.), but only the simple thought of the essential distinction between gods and men, so that one may not demand anything from weak mortals which could be granted only by the gods as celestial beings. בּשׂרא, flesh, in opposition to רוּח, marks the human nature according to its weakness and infirmity; cf. Isaiah 31:3; Psalm 56:5. The king, however, does not admit this excuse, but falls into a violent passion, and gives a formal command that the wise men, in whom he sees deceivers abandoned by the gods, should be put to death. This was a dreadful command; but there are illustrations of even greater cruelty perpetrated by Oriental despots benore him as well as after him. The edict (דּתא) is carried out, but not fully. Not "all the wise men," according to the terms of the decree, were put to death, but מתקטּלין חכּימיּא, i.e., The wise men were put to death.
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