Daniel 2:18
That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) The God of heaven.—We meet with this title of Almighty God for the first time in Genesis 24:7. After the Captivity, it frequently designates the true God as contrasted with the heathen gods. (See Ezra 1:2, Nehemiah 1:5, Psalm 136:26.) It is used by Daniel in this sense in this verse.

2:14-23 Daniel humbly prayed that God would discover to him the king's dream, and the meaning of it. Praying friends are valuable friends; and it well becomes the greatest and best men to desire the prayers of others. Let us show that we value our friends, and their prayers. They were particular in prayer. And whatever we pray for, we can expect nothing but as the gift of God's mercies. God gives us leave in prayer to tell our wants and burdens. Their plea with God was, the peril they were in. The mercy Daniel and his fellows prayed for, was bestowed. The fervent prayers of righteous men avail much. Daniel was thankful to God for making known that to him, which saved the lives of himself and his fellows. How much more should we be thankful to God, for making known the great salvation of the soul to those who are not among the worldly wise and prudent!That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret - That they would implore of God that he would show his mercy to them in revealing this secret, that their lives might be spared. In the margin, as in the Chaldee, this is "from before the God of heaven." All depended now on God. It was clear that human skill was exhausted, and that no reliance could be placed on any ability which man possessed. The art of the Chaldeans had failed, and Daniel, as well by this failure as by the promptings of his own feelings, must now have perceived that the only hope was in God, and that his favor in the case was to be obtained only by prayer. As his three friends were equally interested in the issue, and as it was an early principle of religion, and one found in all dispensations (compare Matthew 18:19), that "united" prayer has special power with God, it was natural and proper to call on his friends to join with him in asking this favor from Him who alone could grant it. It was the natural and the last resource of piety, furnishing an example of what all may do, and should do, in times of perplexity and danger.

That Daniel and his fellows should not perish - Margin, "or, they should not destroy Daniel." The leading in the margin is most in accordance with the Chaldee, though the sense is substantially the same. The word "fellows" is the same which is before rendered "companions."

With the rest of the wise men of Babylon - It seems to have been certain that the decree would be executed on the Chaldeans, soothsayers, etc. And, indeed, there was no reason "why" the decree should not be executed. They had confessed their inability to comply with the king's command, and whatever Daniel could now do could not be construed in their favor as furnishing any reason why the decree should not be executed on them. It was presumed, therefore, that the law, severe as it seemed to be, would be carried into effect on them, and we may suppose that this was probably done. The only hope of their escaping from the common lot was in the belief that the God whom they served would now interpose in their behalf.

18. An illustration of the power of united prayer (Mt 18:19). The same instrumentality rescued Peter from his peril (Ac 12:5-12). Observe here Daniel’s humility, he sought not to engross this business, and the honour of it, wholly to himself, but would have his fellows share in it with him. Again, they would desire mercy, Heb. the bowels of tender mercy: the choicest saints desire to be saved by mercy, Psalm 51:1.

That Daniel and his fellows should not perish: the Lord hath a distinguishing care and love for his people, 2 Thessalonians 1:6 2 Peter 2:9, especially in common calamities, Exodus 14:19, &c.; Revelation 18:4. That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret,.... His view in sending for them, and informing them of this whole affair, was to engage them in prayer to God with him; even to that God that made the heaven, and dwells there, and is above all, and sees and knows what is done in earth, and rules both in heaven and in earth according to his will; to entreat his mercy, whose mercies are manifold, and not plead any merits of their own; and that he would, in compassion to them, and the lives of others that were in danger, make known this secret of the king's dream, and the interpretation of it; which could never be found out by the sagacity of men, or by any art they are masters of: this Daniel requested of them, as knowing that it was their duty and interest, as well as his, to unite in prayer unto God on this account, and that the joint and fervent prayer of righteous men avails much with him:

that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon; which they were in danger of: this was the mercy they were to implore, being in distress, and this the interest they had in this affair; a strong argument to induce them to it.

That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. that they would] ‘that they might’ would be clearer, as it would include more easily a reference to Daniel (see Daniel 2:23 ‘me’).

mercies] compassion, as the corresponding Heb. word is rendered in Lamentations 3:22, Zechariah 7:9 in A.V., and in Daniel 1:9 in R.V.

the God of heaven] So Daniel 2:19; Daniel 2:37; Daniel 2:44. A favourite expression among the post-exilic Jews[208]: see Ezra 1:2 (= 2 Chronicles 36:23), Daniel 5:11-12, Daniel 6:9-10, Daniel 7:12; Daniel 7:21; Daniel 7:23, Nehemiah 1:4-5; Nehemiah 2:4; Nehemiah 2:20, Jonah 1:9, Psalm 136:26 (אל): also Enoch xiii. 6, Tob 10:11, Jdt 5:8; Jdt 6:19; Jdt 11:17, Revelation 11:13; Revelation 16:11.

[208] In Genesis 24:7 it is probable that ‘and earth’ (so LXX) has accidentally fallen out: see Daniel 2:3.

fellows] companions (R.V.), as Daniel 2:17.Verse 18. - That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. The Septuagint has as close a connection between the preceding verse and that before us as has the Massoretie, only it is slightly different in its rendering, "And he told them to fast and pray [urged them to fasting and prayer], and to seek help from the Lord the Highest, concerning this mystery, in order that Daniel with his companions might not be given over to destruction with the wise men of Babylon." It is, certainly, possible that the Septuagint translator had a different reading here. The verb צוּם, "to fast," in the infinitive, might have begun the verse. Still there would be the difficulty of finding anything to correspond to παρήγγειλε. It, however, was probably added to bring the sentence into Greek regimen. The Septuagint translator read the words as nouns in the accusative, and of this case לְ was a frequent sign. Thus what they had was וּלְבָעוּ לְצומָא. The Hebrew word corresponding to the Aramaic word here translated "mercies," רַחֲמִין (rahamin), "bowels," "mercies," is common enough in Biblical language; but the phrase, "to desire mercies," is not found elsewhere in Scripture. It occurs in the later Targums, as Numbers 12:13, as a paraphrastic addition to the simple statement of Onkelos, that Moses prayed before the Lord; only in the case quoted, as generally, the order is not, as here, the object before the verb - a construction more frequent in Assyrian than in Aramaic, save in poetry. The phrase is elliptical; the ruling verb is omitted. One is tempted to wonder whether the word had not originally been לבעון, making it a case of the Babylonian or Eastern Aramaic, third person plural imperfect; then the preceding word would be לצומון, with the vav dropped as unnecessary, and the mere inserted to make the word a regular infinitive. Confirmatory of our view is Theodotion, whose rendering, ἐζήτουν, implies that he had a third person plural imperfect here. We do not maintain that it is necessary that he should have had such a reading, but there is at least a high probability that he had. The Peshitta reverses the order of the words, and omits the conjunction vav, and, inserting the relative ל, as sign of subordination, proceeds, "that they entreat mercies from before God." Here, also, the third person plural imperfect is used. From the greater freedom that Jerome allowed himself in his translation, and from the wide difference between the grammatical construction of a Latin and an Aramaic sentence, no stress can be laid on the fact that he too translates by the third plural imperfect - ut quaerrent misericordiam. The balance of probability is that here we have to do with one of those indications of the Eastern origin of the Aramaic of Daniel. There is an instance of doublet in the LXX. here in the case of the phrase, τιμωρίαν ζητῆσαι, "to seek succour." Tertullian, in his reference to this passage, to which we have referred above (ver. 16), adds to what we quoted above, cum sua fraternitate jejunat, and thus shows that, though differing somewhat from the Septuagint text as we have it, the African Latin Version agreed with it in inserting something about "fasting" here. The God of heaven. This is rendered by the Septuagint here, as generally, ὕψιστος The probability here is that we have to do with no difference of reading, but rather with an objection to applying to God a title used for heathen deities. The title has a peculiar significance in the lips of those who, as Daniel, were educated as astrologers, and taught by those who regarded the sun, the moon, and the various planets as deities. Daniel and his fellows might thus believe in astrology, but maintain that the God of heaven, their God, used heavenly bodies as messengers to proclaim to those who could read the writing, the things that were coming on the earth. They might thus even give a certain limited subordinate power to the deities of Babylon; these deities were the servants of the God of heaven, who was also the God of Israel. There may be a reference to Jeremiah 10:11. The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. The God of Israel is called the God of heaven because he has made the heavens. This title is used before - in Genesis 24:7, where Abraham uses it. It is characteristic of Biblical Aramaic, that the covenant title of God, "Jehovah," is never used, Before we leave this, we would observe that the Peshitta inserts ל, d, the sign of the genitive, before shemayyaa, whereas the text before us uses the older form of construct state in the word for "God." Concerning this secret. A parallel passage illustrative of this is Amos 3:7, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets; "also Deuteronomy 29:29, "Secret things belong unto the Lord our God." Whatever was about to happen, Daniel and his friends knew it could only happen according to the purpose and plan of God. He, as he was the real actor, knew what he was about to do, and whatever revelation of that future had been given to Nebuchadnezzar in his dream, it must have come from the God of heaven; therefore to him do Daniel and his friends make their entreaty. Professor Bevan declares רַז (raz) to be a Persian word. Neither Winer, Furst, nor Gesenius recognizes it to be such. Granted that it is Persian, is it not a possible supposition that it is derived from the Aramaic; not that the Aramaic word is derived from the Persian? Even on the supposition that this word was derived from the Persian, this is not extraordinary, when we learn the intimate relationship between the Median court and the Babylonian. That Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Does this mean that certain of the wise men had already perished? It seems almost necessary to maintain this from the meaning of שְׁאָר (shear), "remnant." It seems at first scarcely natural to take this word as meaning merely "the other," yet the usage in Ezra is in accordance with this: Ezra 4:9, "Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest (וְּשאָר) of their companions." A further question may be raised - Does this prayer mean that the desire of Daniel and his friends was that, when the wise men of Babylon, under whose superintendence they had been taught, were slain, they should escape? Or does it mean that they prayed that "they with the wise men of Babylon should not be destroyed"? This wholly depends on the meaning to be attached to the word עִם ('im), "with." As in English, this word admits of both meanings. As the word is common to Hebrew and Aramaic, we shall take our examples from Hebrew. Thus Genesis 18:24, "That be far from thee, Lord, to slay the righteous with the wicked." As example of the other use of the word, Genesis 32:6, "Esau and four hundred men with him." Usage thus permits us to regard this prayer as intercessory, that these Hebrew youths prayed not only to be preserved themselves, but also that all the other wise men who shared their condemnation should also be preserved. This is the first record of concerted prayer. Of course, in heathen worship there was the caricature of this concert of prayer in the united shouting of the priests, say, of Baal. This is the earliest instance of that practice that has received such a gracious promise from our Lord (Matthew 18:19), "If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven." We would not maintain, even in appearance, that multitude adds to efficacy with God. But when two or three are gathered together, there is an infection of earnestness, a community of enthusiasm generated, that makes each individual fitter to receive the answer. Yet, again, the more that join in a petition, the more it must be raised out of the grovelling region of selfishness. A man who has a purely selfish desire rising in his heart cannot ask his fellows to join him in supplicating God to grant his request. Sacrifices for the Sabbath and New Moon

As, according to Ezekiel 45:17, it devolved upon the prince to provide and bring the sacrifices for himself and the house of Israel; after the appointment of the sacrifices to be offered at the yearly feasts (Ezekiel 45:18-25), and before the regulation of the sacrifices for the Sabbath and new moon (Ezekiel 46:4-7), directions are given as to the conduct of the prince at the offering of these sacrifices (Ezekiel 46:1-3). For although the slaughtering and preparation of the sacrifices for the altar devolved upon the priests, the prince was to be present at the offering of the sacrifices to be provided by him, whereas the people were under no obligation to appear before the Lord in the temple except at the yearly feasts.

Ezekiel 46:1. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, The gate of the inner court, which looks toward the east, shall be shut the six working days, and on the Sabbath it shall be opened, and on the day of the new moon it shall be opened. Ezekiel 46:2. And the prince shall come by the way to the porch of the gate from without, and stand at the posts of the gate, and the priests shall prepare his burnt-offering and his peace-offerings, and he shall worship on the threshold of the gate and then go out; but the gate shall not be shut till the evening. Ezekiel 46:3. And the people of the land shall worship at the entrance of that gate on the Sabbaths and on the new moons before Jehovah. Ezekiel 46:4. And the burnt-offering which the prince shall offer to Jehovah shall consist on the Sabbath-day of six lambs without blemish and a ram without blemish; Ezekiel 46:5. And as a meat-offering, an ephah for the ram, and for the lambs as a meat-offering that which his hand may give, and of oil a hin to the ephah (of meal). Ezekiel 46:6. And on the day of the new moon there shall be an bullock, a young ox without blemish, and six lambs and a ram without blemish; Ezekiel 46:7. And he shall put an ephah for the bullock, and an ephah for the ram for the meat-offering, and for the lambs as much as his hand affords, and of oil a hin for the ephah. - Ezekiel 46:1-3 supply and explain the instructions given in Ezekiel 44:1-3 concerning the outer eastern gate. As the east gate of the outer court (Ezekiel 44:1), so also the east gate of the inner court was to remain closed during the six working days, and only to be opened on the Sabbaths and new moons, when it was to remain open till the evening. The prince was to enter this inner east gate, and to stand there and worship upon the threshold while his sacrifice was being prepared and offered. בּוא דּרך אוּלם is to be taken as in Ezekiel 44:3; but מחוּץ, which is appended, is not to be referred to the entrance into the inner court, as the statement would be quite superfluous so far as this is concerned, since any one who was not already in the inner court must enter the gate-building of the inner court from without, or from the outer court. The meaning of מחוּץ is rather that the prince was to enter, or to go to, the gate porch of the inner court through the outer east gate. There he was to stand at the posts of the gate and worship on the threshold of the gate during the sacrificial ceremony; and when this was over he was to go out again, namely, by the same way by which he entered (Ezekiel 44:3). But the people who came to the temple on the Sabbaths and new moons were to worship פּתח, i.e., at the entrance of this gate, outside the threshold of the gate. Kliefoth in wrong in taking פּתח in the sense of through the doorway, as signifying that the people were to remain in front of the outer east gate, and to worship looking at the temple through this gate and through the open gate between. For השּׁער ההוּא roF ., hits gate, can only be the gate of the inner court, which has been already mentioned. There is no force in the consideration which has led Kliefoth to overlook ההוּא, and think of the outer gate, namely, that "it would be unnatural to suppose that the people were to come into the outer court through the outer north and south gates, whilst the outer east gate remained shut (or perhaps more correctly, was opened for the prince), and so stand in front of the inner court," as it is impossible to see what there is that is unnatural in such a supposition. On the other hand, it is unnatural to assume that the people, who, according to Ezekiel 46:9, were to come through the north and south gates into the outer court at all the מועדים to appear before Jehovah, were not allowed to enter the court upon the Sabbaths and new moons if they should wish to worship before Jehovah upon these days also, but were to stand outside before the gate of the outer court. The difference between the princes and the people, with regard to visiting the temple upon the Sabbaths and new moons, consisted chiefly in this, that the prince could enter by the outer east gate and proceed as far as the posts of the middle gate, and there worship upon the threshold of the gate, whereas the people were only allowed to come into the outer court through the outer north and south gates, and could only proceed to the front of the middle gate. - Ezekiel 46:4. The burnt-offering for the Sabbath is considerably increased when compared with that appointed in the Mosaic law. The law requires two yearling lambs with the corresponding meat-offering (Numbers 28:9); Ezekiel, six lambs and one ram, and in addition to these a meat-offering for the ram according to the proportion already laid down in Ezekiel 45:24 for the festal sacrifices; and for the lambs, מתּת ידו, a gift, a present of his hand, - that is to say, not a handful of meal, but, according to the formula used in alternation with it in Ezekiel 46:7, as much as his hand can afford. For כּאשׁר , see Leviticus 14:30; Leviticus 25:26. - It is different with the sacrifices of the new moon in Ezekiel 46:6 and Ezekiel 46:7. The law of Moses prescribed two bullocks, one ram, and seven lambs, with the corresponding meat-offering, and a he-goat for a sin-offering (Numbers 28:11-15); the thorah of Ezekiel, on the contrary, omits the sin-offering, and reduces the burnt-offering to one bullock, one ram, and six lambs, together with a meat-offering, according to the proportion already mentioned, which is peculiar to his law. The first תּמימים in Ezekiel 46:6 is a copyist's error for תּמים.

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