Daniel 2:13
And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
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.And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain - The original here will bear a somewhat different translation, meaning, "the decree went forth, "and" the wise men were slain;" that is, the execution of the sentence was actually commenced. So the Vulgate: Et egressa sententia, sapientes interficiebantur. So also the Greek version: καὶ οἱ σοφοί ἀπεκτέννοντο kai hoi sophoi apektennonto - "and the wise men were slain." This seems to me to be the more probable interpretation, and better to suit the connection. Then it would mean that they had actually begun to execute the decree, and that in the prosecution of their bloody work they sought out Daniel and his companions, and that by his influence with Arioch the execution of the sentence was arrested.

And they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain - His three companions Daniel 1:6, who probably had not been among those who were summoned to court to explain the matter. Had they been consulted at first, the issuing of the decree would have been prevented, but it seems to have been the design of Providence to give the fairest trial of the ability of these sages, and to allow matters to come to a crisis, in order to show that what was done was wholly beyond human power.

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. This was unjust, that Daniel and his fellows should have their share in the punishment, and yet be excluded from the other part which was the reward; the reason why they were not called was because of their youth, which the Chaldeans despised, wherein we have these three things observable.

1. The magicians confessed this, that knowledge and revelation must come from God, and therefore what Daniel did was not by any human strength, but Divine only.

2. That the Lord held the governor’s hands, so that he did not slay Daniel presently with the first.

3. That Daniel, by his prudence and piety, saved all the magicians’ lives.

And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain,.... Or, "and the wise men were slain" (h), as the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Syriac versions render it; and so Saadiah: orders were given by the king to his proper officers, and his edict was published, and his will made known in the usual manner; upon which the wise men, at least some of them, were slain; very probably those who were in the king's presence, and at court; and the officers were gone out to slay the rest:

and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain; who had the character of wise men, and might be envied at court, and so the officers took this opportunity, having these orders, to slay them: there was, no doubt, a particular providence, that Daniel and his friends should not be at court at this time; both that the vanity of the Chaldean wisdom and arts might be the more manifest and made known, and the divine and superior wisdom and knowledge of Daniel might be more conspicuous, and his fame be spread in Babylon, and in other provinces.

(h) "et sapientes interficiebantur", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Piscator, Michaelis.

And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they {i} sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.

(i) Which declares that God would not have his servant united in the company of these sorcerers and astrologers, whose arts were wicked, and therefore justly ought to die, even though the king did it upon a rage and not from zeal.

13. the decree went forth] Cf. Luke 2:2, where the Greek is exactly the same as that of Theodotion’s rendering here (τὸ δόγμα ἐξῆλθε).

that the wise men, &c.] and the wise men were to be slain (R.V.). See Kautzsch, Gramm. § 76. 3.

fellows] companions (R.V.), as Daniel 2:17. So Daniel 2:18.

13–16. Daniel and his three companions, being regarded now (cf. Daniel 1:17-20) as belonging to the class of ‘wise men,’ and being consequently involved in the condemnation, are in danger of their lives; but Daniel, through Arioch’s intervention, obtains an audience of the king, and promising to tell him his dream, gets execution of the sentence deferred.

Verse 13. - And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain. As the Aramaic stands, it might be translated as does Professor Fuller, "And the decree went forth, and the wise men were being slain;" the ו of co-ordination maybe regarded as here used of Subordination. Further, the use of the participle for the preterite is not by any means uncommon in Daniel, certainly mainly in the principal clause, as in ver. 5 of the present chapter. Noldeke, in his 'Syriac Grammar,' 278a, gives examples of the passive participle being used as here in the subordinate clause. The Septuagint is very condensed, but possibly drawn from a similar text, only such extreme condensation is unlike the translator elsewhere. It is possible that some part of the פְּקַד. (peqad), "to decree," was used, perhaps the participle hithpael. It is possible that the verb qetal was in the infinitive. Theodotion renders, "And the decree went forth, and the wise men were slain." This, though a possible translation, does not fit what we find represented to be the circumstances, as ver. 24 seems to assume that the wise men were not yet destroyed. On the other hand, it would be hardly possible to imagine the king allowing these wise men who had refused to answer his question, to go out of his presence in safety and unbound. It would seem more natural to imagine that they were carried off to prison, and that all the soothsaying class were intended to be gathered together in prison, in order that the vengeance of the king might be more appallingly manifest. The sentence looks at first sight to us as too savage to be true, but just as savage proofs of vengeance were given by Asshurbanipal. And they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain. The Septuagint translation of this clause is somewhat paraphrastic, "And Daniel was sought for and all those with him in order to be put to death." The want of an antecedent to fix the nominative of the verb probably led to the sentence assuming its present mould; but "all" seems to have no word to occasion it. Theodotion follows the Massoretic text closely; so also does the Peshitta. It is clear from this that Daniel and his companions had not been summoned into the royal presence when the question concerning the dream was put to the wise men. This would seem to contradict the statement of Daniel 1:19, "Therefore stood they" - to wit these Hebrew youths - "before the king." Their position was probably like those who had passed the examination for the Indian Civil Service - they are accepted, but they have still a season of study, and then, after they go out to India, they occupy only subordinate situations at first. While permited to enter the ranks of the soothsayers and astrologers to the court, they were placed at first only in the lower grades, and would have to rise by degrees, and in ordinary circumstances a long time would elapse before they would be summoned into the immediate presence of the sovereign. On the reading of the LXX., Daniel and his friends would not, because they were Jews, and not Chaldeans. One has only to turn to the Talumdic tales to see how unlike this reasonable position is to the ordinary Jewish fictitious narrative. The Book of Daniel is not nearly prodigal enough in wonders to be a representative of the Jewish Midrash. It is further clear that the decree of the king went beyond those who had actually been in his council-chamber on that merest-able day. The idea of the king probably was that the treason which he had found in the heads of the various classes of Chaldean soothsayers would have permeated all the members. Babylonian and foreign, as well; therefore he orders them all to suffer a common fate. Wieseler's hypothesis, that this event took place close to the end of the three years of study which had been assigned to these youths, would suit the statement of events which we find here; although it is not necessary, yet on this assumption, the succession of events as narrated in this chapter becomes perfectly natural. Daniel 2:13While it is manifest that the decree was not carried fully out, it is yet clearer from what follows that the participle מתקטּלין does not stand for the preterite, but has the meaning: the work of putting to death was begun. The participle also does not stand as the gerund: they were to be put to death, i.e., were condemned (Kran.), for the use of the passive participle as the gerund is not made good by a reference to מהימן, Daniel 2:45, and דחיל, Daniel 2:31. Even the command to kill all the wise men of Babylon is scarcely to be understood of all the wise men of the whole kingdom. The word Babylon may represent the Babylonian empire, or the province of Babylonia, or the city of Babylon only. In the city of Babylon a college of the Babylonian wise men or Chaldeans was established, who, according to Strabo (xv. 1. 6), occupied a particular quarter of the city as their own; but besides this, there were also colleges in the province of Babylon at Hipparenum, Orchae, which Plin. hist. nat. vi. 26 (30) designates as tertia Chaldaeorum doctrina, at Borsippa, and other places. The wise men who were called (Daniel 2:2) into the presence of the king, were naturally those who resided in the city of Babylon, for Nebuchadnezzar was at that time in his palace. Yet of those who had their residence there, Daniel and his companions were not summoned, because they had just ended their noviciate, and because, obviously, only the presidents or the older members of the several classes were sent for. But since Daniel and his companions belonged to the whole body of the wise men, they also were sought out that they might be put to death.
Daniel 2:13 Interlinear
Daniel 2:13 Parallel Texts

Daniel 2:13 NIV
Daniel 2:13 NLT
Daniel 2:13 ESV
Daniel 2:13 NASB
Daniel 2:13 KJV

Daniel 2:13 Bible Apps
Daniel 2:13 Parallel
Daniel 2:13 Biblia Paralela
Daniel 2:13 Chinese Bible
Daniel 2:13 French Bible
Daniel 2:13 German Bible

Bible Hub

Daniel 2:12
Top of Page
Top of Page