Daniel 2:2
Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to show the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.
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(2) Magicians.—Heb. chartummim, so called, most probably, from the pencil or stylus with which they wrote. The word is elsewhere used of the Egyptian magicians. (See Schrader, Keil-Inschriften, p. 26; Records of the Past, vol. 1 p. 131.)

Astrologers.—Heb. ashshaphim, a name derived from the whisperings or mutterings made by them while employed in their incantations. They are mentioned by Daniel only.

Sorcerers.—Heb. mekashshaphim; are spoken of in the Pentateuch both as male and female, (e.g. Deuteronomy 18:10). They are mentioned by Isaiah (Isaiah 47:9; Isaiah 47:12) as prevalent in the Babylon of his days. Probably the Chaldæans spoken of in this verse did not form a separate class of magicians, but denoted the priests, such as those mentioned Herod. i. 181, and was contained in the first class of magicians mentioned in the verse. It appears that Daniel excelled (Daniel 1:17) in all classes of magic learning, whether it required a knowledge of “learning, wisdom, or dreams.”

Daniel 2:2. Then the king commanded to call the magicians and the astrologers — Concerning the meaning of these two words, see note on Daniel 1:20. Daniel and his companions were not called among them; perhaps because the Chaldeans despised them as youths and strangers, and would not have them thought equal in knowledge to themselves. And the sorcerers — This word is always taken in an ill sense by the sacred writers, signifying a sort of necromancers, that through diabolical arts pretended to an acquaintance with departed spirits, from כשׂŠ, præstigiis uti, to use deceitful tricks, or enchantments. They were, perhaps, not very unlike the sortilegi, or fortune-tellers of the ancient Romans; and exercised themselves in various sorts of juggling tricks, or enchantments, which were supposed to be performed by the assistance of demons: see note on Isaiah 29:4. And the Chaldeans — The Chaldeans were so much addicted to the study of the motions of the heavenly bodies, and to make prognostications from thence, that the word Chaldean is used, both in Greek and Latin writers, for an astrologer. Diodorus, lib. 2., speaking of the Chaldeans, says, They employ their whole time in philosophy and divination, and are trained up to them from their childhood: and Strabo, lib. xvi, makes a distinction, and observes, that the word is sometimes applied to the nation, sometimes to the sect. Curtius, lib. 5. cap. 1, describes them thus: “Chaldæi siderum motus et statas temporum vices ostendere soliti:” “The Chaldeans are accustomed to show the motions of the stars, and the appointed changes of times:” and Cicero, De Divin., p. 4, “Chaldæi — diuturna observatione siderum scientiam putantur effecisse, ut prædici posset quid cuique eventurum et quo quisque fato natus esset:” “The Chaldeans, by the long observation of the stars, are thought to have formed a science, whereby may be foretold what is about to happen to every one, and to what fate every one is born.” These passages may serve to show the opinion that was commonly entertained of these Chaldeans; and therefore we shall be less surprised to find, at Daniel 2:4, this name, according to the general sense of it, used for the magicians of every sort. To show the king his dreams — Dreams were often considered by the heathen as giving particular intimations of the will of Heaven; and hence the expression of Homer, in his first Iliad, Και γαρ τοναρ εκ Διος εστι, For dreams descend from Jove. And in the beginning of his second Iliad, he has, by a bold and beautiful prosopopœia, conveyed the will of Jupiter to Agamemnon in a dream, investing Ονειρος (a dream) with all the qualities of a divine messenger. Diog. Laert. makes mention of a dream of Socrates, whereby he foretold his death within three days; and most of the schools among pagan philosophers gave credit to dreams, and considered them as revealing the will of the gods: see Wintle.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.Then the king commanded - That is, when he awoke. The particle rendered "then," does not imply that this occurred immediately. When he awoke, his mind was agitated; he was impressed with the belief that he had had an important Divine communication; but he could not even recal the dream distinctly, and he resolved to summon to his presence those whose business it was to interpret what were regarded as prognostics of the future.

The magicians, and the astrologers - These are the same words which occur in Daniel 1:20. See the note at that place.

And the sorcerers - Hebrew מכשׁפים mekashepı̂ym. Vulgate, malefici - sorcerers. Greek, φαρμακεύς pharmakeus Syriac, "magician." The Hebrew word is derived from כשׁף kâshaph - meaning, in Piel, to practice magic; to use magic formulas, or incantations; to mutter; and it refers to the various arts by which those who were addicted to magic practiced their deceptions. The particular idea in this word would seem to be, that on such occasions some forms of prayers were used, for the word in Syriac means to offer prayers, or to worship. Probably the aid of idol gods was invoked by such persons when they practiced incantations. The word is found only in the following places: once as a "verb," 2 Chronicles 33:6, and rendered "used witchcraft;" and as a "participle," rendered "sorcerers," in Exodus 7:11; Daniel 2:2; Malachi 3:5; and "witch," in Exodus 22:18 (17); Deuteronomy 18:10. The noun (כשׁף kashâph and כשׁפים keshâpı̂ym) is used in the following places, always with reference to sorcery or witchcraft: Jeremiah 27:9; 2 Kings 9:22; Isaiah 47:9; Micah 5:12 (11); Nahum 3:4. It may not be easy to specify the exact sense in which this word is used as distinguished from the others which relate to the same general subject, but it would seem to be that some form of "prayer" or "invocation" was employed. The persons referred to did not profess to interpret the prognostics of future events by any original skill of their own, but by the aid of the gods.

And the Chaldeans - See the notes at Daniel 1:4. The Chaldeans appear to have been but one of the tribes or nations that made up the community at Babylon (compare the notes at Isaiah 23:13), and it would seem that at this time they were particularly devoted to the practice of occult arts, and secret sciences. It is not probable that the other persons referred to in this enumeration were Chaldeans. The Magians, if any of these were employed, were Medians (see the notes at Daniel 1:20), and it is not improbable that the other classes of diviners might have been from other nations. The purpose of Nebuchadnezzar was to assemble at his court whatever was remarkable throughout the world for skill and knowledge (see analysis of Daniel 1), and the wise men of the Chaldeans were employed in carrying out that design. The Chaldeans were so much devoted to these secret arts, and became so celebrated for them, that the name came, among the Greek and Roman writers, to be used to denote all those who laid claim to extraordinary powers in this department.

Diodorus Siculus (lib. ii.) says of the Chaldeans in Babylon, that "they sustain the same office there that the priests do in Egypt, for being devoted to the worship of God through their whole lives, they give themselves to philosophy, and seek from astrology their highest glory." Cicero also remarks (De Divin., p. 3), that "the Chaldeans, so named, not from their art, but their nation, are supposed, by a prolonged observation of the stars, to have wrought out a science by which could be predicted what was to happen to every individual, and to what fate he was born." Juvenal likewise (Sat. vi., verses 552-554), has this passage: "Chaldaeis sed major erit fiducia; quidquid dixerit astrologus, credent a fonte relatum Ammonis. - But their chief dependence is upon the Chaldeans; whatever an astrologer declares, they will receive as a response of (Jupiter) Ammon." Horace refers to the "Babylonians" as distinguished in his time for the arts of magic, or divination:

"nec Babylonios,

tentaris numeros." - Car. lib. i.; xi.

It is not probable that the whole nation of Chaldeans was devoted to these arts, but as a people they became so celebrated in this kind of knowledge that it was their best known characteristic abroad. (See also Barnes' Appendix to Daniel)

For to show the king his dreams - To show him what the dream was, and to explain its import. Compare Genesis 41:24; Judges 14:12; 1 Kings 10:3. That it was common for kings to call in the aid of interpreters to explain the import of dreams, appears from Herodotus. When Astyages ascended the throne, he had a daughter whose name was Mandane. She had a dream which seemed to him so remarkable that he called in the "magi," whose interpretation, Herodotus remarks, was of such a nature that it "terrified him exceedingly." He was so much influenced by the dream and the interpretation, that it produced an entire change in his determination respecting the marriage of his daughter. - Book i., 107: So again, after the marriage of his daughter, Herodotus says (book i., cviii.): "Astyages had another vision. A vine appeared to spring from his daughter which overspread all Asia. On this occasion, also, he consulted his interpreters; the result was, that he sent for his daughter from Persia, when the time of her delivery approached. On her arrival, he kept a strict watch over her, intending to destroy her child. The magi had declared the vision to intimate that the child of his daughter should supplant him on the throne." Astyages, to guard against this, as soon as Cyrus was born, sent for Harpagus, a person in whom he had confidence, and commanded him to take the child to his own house, and put him to death. These passages in Herodotus show that what is here related of the king of Babylon, demanding the aid of magicians and astrologers to interpret his dreams, was by no means an uncommon occurrence.

2. Chaldeans—here, a certain order of priest-magicians, who wore a peculiar dress, like that seen on the gods and deified men in the Assyrian sculptures. Probably they belonged exclusively to the Chaldeans, the original tribe of the Babylonian nation, just as the Magians were properly Medes. The magicians and the astrologers: these words signify astrologers, or those that cast nativities, that pretended great skill in natural and supernatural things; and the sorcerers, or necromancers, were those who used diabolical arts. See Poole "Exodus 7:11"; See Poole "Exodus 22:18", See Poole "Deu 18:10". Though Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar made use of these as their great counsellors, yet God baffled them by Moses and Daniel; and forbade his people the use or toleration of them, because they are an abomination to him. God will have his people ask counsel of him and his words, and not of the devil’s oracles.

Chaldeans: this name the magicians assumed, as being national and most noble; and whatever these wise men or wizards said, it was as if Jupiter himself had spoken it, as the Roman satirist said of them, Juv. Sat. 6.

They came and stood before the king. Daniel was not called among them. Why? Because the king confided more in these his own old standers; but chiefly God had thus ordered by his wise providence that Daniel should not be in their number, for if he had, the interpretation would have been attributed to astrology and magic, and not to God, as now it was. Then the king commanded to call the magicians,.... He ordered his servants in waiting to send immediately for the wise men, the philosophers of that age and kingdom, that studied the things of nature, and the natural causes of things:

and the astrologers; that cast nativities, and pretended by the position and influence of the stars to know what would befall men:

and the sorcerers; or wizards, that made use of familiar spirits, and the help of the devil; necromancers that consulted the dead, in order to get knowledge of future things:

and the Chaldeans; so called, not from their country; for probably all the preceding were Chaldeans by nation; but inasmuch as the study of judiciary astrology, and other unlawful arts, greatly obtained in Chaldea; hence those that were addicted to them had this name (w):

for to show the king his dreams; both what it was he dreamed, and what the interpretation or meaning of it was: so they came, and stood before the king; they came immediately, with great readiness and willingness, esteeming it a great honour done them to be sent for by the king, and admitted into his chamber; and hoping it would turn much both to their credit and profit; and being come, they stood waiting his will and pleasure.

(w) Vid. Juvenal. Satyr. 6. A. Gellii Noet. Attic, l. 1. c. 9. Cicero de Divinatione, I. 1.

Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the {e} Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.

(e) For all these astrologers and sorcerers called themselves by this name of honour, as though all the wisdom and knowledge of the country depended upon them, and that all other countries were void of such wisdom and knowledge.

2. the magicians, and the enchanters] See on Daniel 1:20. As in Egypt (Genesis 41:8), the ‘magicians’ and ‘wise men’ (Daniel 2:12) would be the natural persons for the king to consult on the interpretation of a dream.

and the sorcerers] This is a word which is well known in the earlier literature: e.g. Exodus 7:11; Exodus 22:18 (in the fem.); Deuteronomy 18:10; cf. the subst. sorceries Micah 5:11, and (in Babylon) Isaiah 47:9; Isaiah 47:12.

Chaldeans] Here, as in Daniel 1:4, used in the sense of the priestly or learned class (see p. 12 ff). So Daniel 2:4-5; Daniel 2:10.

for to shew] for to tell (R.V.). To ‘shew’ is used often in A.V., and sometimes in R.V., not in the modern sense of pointing out, but in that of telling or declaring; and it stands here for the Heb. word usually rendered tell or declare. So Genesis 46:31 (R.V. tell); Jdg 13:10; 1 Samuel 11:9 (R.V. told), 1 Samuel 19:7, 1 Samuel 25:8 (R.V. told); 2 Kings 6:11; Isaiah 41:22; Isaiah 41:26 (R.V. declare), &c.; cf. the Parallel Psalter, p. 481.

3 was disturbed] or is disturbed. It is not perfectly clear whether the intention of the writer is to represent the king as having really forgotten the dream and desiring to have it recalled to him; or as still remembering it, and merely making this demand for the purpose of testing the magicians’ skill.Verse 2. - Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to show the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. The Septuagint renders, "And the king commended that the magicians, astrologers, and sorcerers of the Chaldeans be brought in to tell the king his dream. And they came and steed before the king." The difference is slight verbally, but very important. Theodotion and the Peshitta agree closely with the Massoretic. The Vulgate renders mecashe-pheem, "sorcerers," malefici, "evil workers." Then the king commanded to call the magicians. The scene seems to stand out before us - the king, excited and sleepless, calling out to his attendants to summon to his presence all the wise men in the capital of his empire. The first that are named are the hartummeem. The name is derived by Gesenius from חֶרֶט (heret), "a stylus," and he supposes them to be sacred scribes. We find the word in Genesis 41:24. Although the order may have existed among the Egyptians, the name given to them here and in Exodus may quite well have a Semitic origin. The Tel-el-Amarna tablets show us how well the language of Assyria was known in Egypt. Hitzig is quite sure that Nebuchadnezzar "est Abbild des Pharao und zugleich Vorbild des Antiochus Epiphanes." It is a way critics have; they are always quite sure. It may be observed that both the Greek versions have for this word ἐπαοιδούς, "those who use incantations." The Peshitta has harasha, primarily "one who is silent," then "one who mutters," then "one who sings an incantation." Paulus Tellensis has lehasha, "to whisper," and then "to reheat a charm" or "incautation." Jerome renders arioli," foretellers." While the Peshitta interprets hartummeem in Genesis by the same word as that used here, in the Septuagint the word in Genesis is ἐξηγητής instead of ἐ῞παοίδος, and Jerome uses conjectores instead of, as we have seen, arioli In Exodus 7:11 harturameem is translated in the Septuagint ἐπαοιδοί. Jerome renders ipsi, as if the word had not been in his text. if, then, the word hartummeem stood in the text of Daniel when the Greek versions were made, there was an uncertainty as to the meaning to be assigned to it in Egypt. The distinction between the two meanings drawn from the etymology of the word hartummeem, and that derived from the Greek equivalent, is not great. The religion of the Chaldeans was largely a system of incantations that were preserved primarily in the Accadian - a tongue known only to the sacred scribes. Many of the formulae are translated into Assyrian - a language, by the time of Nebuchadnezzar, practically as much restricted to the scribes and learned class as the Accadian. Hence only a scribe could know the proper words to use in an incantation, only he could perpetuate and preserve them. It is difficult to know on what grouted the translators of the Authorized Version selected the word "magicians." The Geneva Bible rendered it "enchanters," which is adopted by the Revisers. Luther is further afield in tendering sternsehers. The name is Assyrian, and apparently derived from harutu, "a staff" (Norris, 'Assyr. Dict.'). This staff was possibly used, as the staff of the Roman augur, to mark off the regions of the heavens, or, it may be, to ward off demons. And the astrologers. The Hebrew word used here is ashshapheem. "In Assyrian the word asep or asipu is used in the sense of diviner. The word was actually borrowed by the Aramaic of Daniel under the form of ashshaph" (Sayce, 'Hibbert Lecture,' p. 51). It is supposed to mean "one who uses enchantments." It is not Hebrew, but really Syriao or Eastern Aramaic. In both Greek versions the equivalent is μάγοι, which Jerome follows. The Peshitta reserves magoeha for the next term. The assertion that this word was really the Greek σοφοί is now abandoned. The Greek σ never rendered by שׁ, which represented a sound not present in Greek at all. The fact that this non-Hellenic sound is doubled makes it utterly impossible that this word could be brought over from the Greek. It is impossible to assign to this word the precise shade of meaning which belongs to it. There is nothing to suggest "astrologers" in the root of the word. And the sorcerers. The Hebrew here is mekash,hepheem. Dr. Robertson Smith, as quoted in Professor Bevan, suggests that the word is derived from כשפ, "to shred or cut to pieces," hence "to prepare magical drugs." This is in agreement with the Greek versions, which render φαρμάκοι. The verb, however, is a Syrian one, and means "to worship" (Acts 4:31; Philippians 1:4). It occurs in the Hebrew of Exodus 7:11 along with hartummeem; in Deuteronomy 18:10, in a verse forbidding to the Israelites the use of magical arts; in 2 Chronicles 33:6, in an account of how Manasseh traversed that law. It may be noted that in this last verse the Peshitta renders Chaldea "Chaldeans." Again we have to repeat the remark that we do not know the distinctions involved in these different names. And the Chaldeans. The Hebrew word here is כַשְׂדִים (Kas'deern); both the form Kassatu and Kaldu occur in in-seriptions. The meaning of this word has caused great discussion, and its use in this chapter for a class of magicians has been held as a strong proof that the writer of the book before us lived long after the time in which he places the events he narrates. The use of "Chaldean" for "magician," "astrologer," or "soothsayer" in classic times is well known. The difficulty here is that the name "Chaldean" is used for a particular and limited class in the nation, and at the same time for that nation as a whole. This is not necessarily impossible. In Scotland, although the inhabitants are all called Scots, there is also the clan whose surname is Scott, or, as it was earlier spelt, "Scot." It would not show confusion or iguorance did a writer of the fifteenth century speak in one page of the Kers, the Hepburns, and the Scots (Scotts) as forming one army, and then in the next page proceed to speak of the whole army as the army of the Scots. His use of the name in the one case for the nation and the other for the clan, so far from showing an insufficient acquaintance with the constitution of Scotland, or the history of its affairs, really evidences the accuracy of the writer's knowledge. We cannot conclude that the author therefore made a mistake in speaking - if he does so - of a class of the Babylonian magians being called Chaldeans because the nation bore the same name. We certainly have as yet found no trace of such a usage, but the argumentum e silentio is of strikingly little value in regard to Babylon - her annals are so very incomplete. We retest bear in mind that the text of Daniel is in a very bad state: it has been subjected to various inter-polstions and alterations. It is, therefore, hazardous to rest any stress on single words. It is clear the writer knew perfectly well that the nation were called Chaldeans. According to the Massoretic text, Daniel 5:30 asserts, "In that night was Belshazzar King of the Chaldeans slain;" according to the LXX. version of the same verse it is, "And the kingdom was taken from the Chaldeans and given to the Medea and Persians." If we are sure the writer did make the Chaldeans also a class of magians, the probability is that he knew what he was talking about, and made no explanation because, as a contemporary, he took for granted everybody knew how this was. But is it absolutely certain that the writer of Daniel does make this asset-lion? It is true that in the Massoretic text the Kasdeem are represented as a class of magiaas coordinate with the hartummeem, ashshapheem, and mekashepheem, but in the Septuagint we find the word χαλδαίων in the genitive. Consequently, the sentence reads, "the magicians and the astrologers and the sorcerers of the Chaldeans." If at the time the Massoretic recension was made the name "Chaldean" had gained its later significance of "soothsayer," one can easily understand how natural it would be to insert the copulative before the preposition. The construction of the sentence in the text before the translator of the LXX. Version is certainly irregular, but not unexampled. It is not so easy to imagine the Septuagint translator changing the nominative plural into a genitive, especially when, by the time the translation was made, the osage we have spoken of above was in full force. We may assume, then, that in the original text of Daniel the "Kasdeem" were not spoken of, in this verse at all events, as a class of magicians. As the clause appears in the LXX., Nebuchadnezzar assembled all the magicians of his nationality, the Chaldeans as distinguished from the Babylonians. Perhaps he had more confidence in them. While the change we have suggested would make only the mekashshepheem connected with the Chaldeans, the grammatical structure of the verse has the aspect of a freer rendering than that in Theodotion' hence it might quite well have been that the original Hebrew had the meaning represented by the Greek of the Septuagint. Lenormant sees in the four classes here an exact representation of the four classes of Babylonian soothsayers. We do not feel obliged to maintain that all the different classes should be called in on the occasion of this dream. We do not know precisely the characteristics that separated one class from the other, but it seems little likely that they all devoted themselves to the interpretation of dreams. There were other omens and portents that had to be explained. For to show the king his dreams. The natural sense is that represented by the Greek versions, "to tell the king his dream." The usual reason for these officials being called was to declare to the king the interpretation of the dream; but here it was to declare the dream its. If. Yet if they could foretell the future, could they not much more easily tell what had happened? They professed to know what was coming; they could - so Nebuchadnezzar might argue - readily enough reason back from the future they knew to the sign of the future, the dream which had been given to him. So they came and stood before the king. We can imagine the long ranks of the principal classes of Chaldean soothsayers in Babylon hastening into the royal presence. All the soothsayers, we see, were not summoned, for Daniel and his friends were not, and they were not singular, else the writer would have given some reason for this omission. The writer assumes that his readers know so much about the habits of Bah;Ionian wise men and their schools, as to be aware that certain individuals might nominally be summoned to the court; and yet it might be some time before they were summoned on any critical occasion. The absence of the four Hebrews might be explained in two ways: either only the Chaldean magicians were in this case summoned, and, as Daniel and his friends were not Chaldeans, they were omitted; or they were not summoned he-cause their training was not yet complete. General Exhortation to Observe Justice and Righteousness in their Dealings. - Ezekiel 45:9. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Let it suffice you, ye princes of Israel: desist from violence and oppression, and observe justice and righteousness, and cease to thrust my people out of their possession, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Ezekiel 45:10. Just scales, and a just ephah, and a just bath, shall ye have. Ezekiel 45:11. The ephah and the bath shall be of one measure, so that the bath holds the tenth part of the homer, and the ephah the tenth part of the homer: after the homer shall its standard be. Ezekiel 45:12. And the shekel shall have twenty gerahs; twenty shekels, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels, shall the mina be with you. - The exhortation in Ezekiel 45:9 is similar to that in Ezekiel 44:6, both in form and substance. As the Levites and priests are to renounce the idolatry to which they have been previously addicted, and to serve before the Lord in purity and holiness of life, so are the princes to abstain from the acts of oppression which they have formerly practised, and to do justice and righteousness; for example, to liberate the people of the Lord from the גּרשׁות. גּרוּשׁה is unjust expulsion from one's possession, of which Ahab's conduct toward Naboth furnished a glaring example (1 Kings 21). These acts of violence pressed heavily upon the people, and this burden is to be removed (הרים מעל). In Ezekiel 45:10-12 the command to practise justice and righteousness is expanded; and it is laid as a duty upon the whole nation to have just weights and measures. This forms the transition to the regulation, which follows from Ezekiel 45:13 onwards, of the taxes to be paid by the people to the prince to defray the expenses attendant upon the sacrificial worship. - For Ezekiel 45:10, see Leviticus 19:36 and Deuteronomy 25:13. Instead of the hin (Leviticus 19:36), the bath, which contained six hins, is mentioned here as the measure for liquids. The בּת is met with for the first time in Isaiah 5:10, and appears to have been introduced as a measure for liquids after the time of Moses, having the same capacity as the ephah for dry goods (see my Bibl. Archol. II pp. 139ff.). This similarity is expressly stated in Ezekiel 45:11. Both of them, the ephah as well as the bath, are to contain the tenth of a homer (לשׂאת, to carry, for להכיל, to contain, to hold; compare Genesis 36:7 with Amos 7:10), and to be regulated by the homer. Ezekiel 45:12 treats of the weights used for money. The first clause repeats the old legal provision (Exodus 30:13; Leviticus 27:25; Numbers 3:47), that the shekel, as the standard weight for money, which was afterwards stamped as a coin, is to contain twenty gerahs. The regulations which follow are very obscure: "twenty shekels, twenty-five shekels, fifteen shekels, shall the mina be to you." The mina, המּנה, occurs only here and in 1 Kings 10:17; Ezra 2:69; and Nehemiah 7:71-72, - that is to say, only in books written during the captivity of subsequent to it. If we compare 1 Kings 10:17, according to which three minas of gold were used for a shield, with 2 Chronicles 9:16, where three hundred (shekels) of gold are said to have been used for a similar shield, it is evident that a mina was equal to a hundred shekels. Now as the talent (כּכּר) contained three thousand (sacred or Mosaic) shekels (see the comm. on Exodus 38:25-26), the talent would only have contained thirty minas, which does not seem to answer to the Grecian system of weights. For the Attic talent contained sixty minas, and the mina a hundred drachms; so that the talent contained six thousand drachms, or three thousand didrachms. But as the Hebrew shekel was equal to a δίδραχμον, the Attic talent with three thousand didrachms corresponded to the Hebrew talent with three thousand shekels; and the mina, as the sixtieth part of the talent, with a hundred drachms or fifty didrachms, ought to correspond to the Hebrew mina with fifty shekels, as the Greek name μνᾶ is unquestionably derived from the Semitic מנה. The relation between the mina and the shekel, resulting from a comparison of 1 Kings 10:17 with 2 Chronicles 9:16, can hardly be made to square with this, by the assumption that the shekels referred to in 2 Chronicles 9:16 are not Mosaic shekels, but so-called civil shekels, the Mosaic half-shekel, the beka, בּקע, having acquired the name of shekel in the course of time, as the most widely-spread silver coin of the larger size. A hundred such shekels or bekas made only fifty Mosaic shekels, which amounted to one mina; while sixty minas also formed one talent (see my Bibl. Archol. II pp. 135, 136).

But the words of the second half of the verse before us cannot be brought into harmony with this proportion, take them how we will. If, for example, we add the three numbers together, 20 + 25 + 15 shekels shall the mina be to you, Ezekiel would fix the mina at sixty shekels. But no reason whatever can be found for such an alteration of the proportion between the mina and the talent on the one hand, or the shekel on the other, if the shekel and talent were to remain unchanged. And even apart from this, the division of the sixty into twenty, twenty-five, and fifteen still remains inexplicable, and can hardly be satisfactorily accounted for in the manner proposed by the Rabbins, namely, that there were pieces of money in circulation of the respective weights of twenty, twenty-five, and fifteen shekels, for the simple reason that no historical trace of the existence of any such pieces can be found, apart from the passage before us.

(Note: It is true that Const. l'Empereur has observed, in the Discursus ad Lectorem prefixed to the Paraphrasis Joseph. Jachiadae in Danielem, that "as God desired that justice should be preserved in all things, He noticed the various coins, and commanded that they should have their just weight. One coin, according to Jewish testimony, was of twenty shekels, a second of twenty-five, and a third of fifteen shekels; and as these together made one mina, according to the command of God, in order that it might be manifest that each had its proper quantity, He directed that they should be weighed against the mina, so that it might be known whether each had its own weight by means of the mina, to which they ought to be equal." But the Jewish witnesses (Judaei testes) are no other than the Rabbins of the Middle Ages, Sal. Jarchi (Raschi), Dav. Kimchi, and Abrabanel, who attest the existence of these pieces of money, not on the ground of historical tradition, but from an inference drawn from this verse. The much earlier Targumist knows nothing whatever of them, but paraphrases the words thus: "the third part of a mina has twenty shekels; a silver mina, five and twenty shekels; the fourth part of a mina, fifteen shekels; all sixty are a mina; and a great mina (i.e., probably one larger than the ordinary, or civil mina) shall be holy to you;" from which all that can be clearly learned is, that he found in the words of the prophet a mina of sixty shekels. A different explanation is given by the lxx, whose rendering, according to the Cod. Vatic. (Tischendorf), runs as follows: πέντε σίκλοι, πέντε καὶ σίκλοι, δέκα καὶ πεντήκοντα σίκλοι ἡ μνᾶ ἔσται ὑμῖν; and according to the Cod. Al.: οἱ πεντε σικλοι πεντε και ὁι δεκα σικλοι δεκα και πεντηκοντα κ.τ.λ. Boeckh (Metrol. Untersuch. pp. 54ff.) and Bertheau (Zur Gesch. der Isr. pp. 9ff.) regard the latter as the original text, and punctuate it thus: οἱ πέντε σίκλοι πέντε, καὶ οἱ δέκα σίκλοι δέκα, καὶ πεντήκοντα σίκλοι ἡ μνᾶ ἔσται ὑμῖν, - interpreting the whole verse as follows: "the weight once fixed shall remain unaltered, and unadulterated in its original value: namely, a shekel shall contain ten gerahs; five shekels, or a five-shekel piece, shall contain exactly five; and so also a ten-shekel piece, exactly ten shekels; and the mina shall contain fifty shekels." But however this explanation may appear to commend itself, and although for this reason it has been adopted by Hvernick and by the author of this commentary in his Bibl. Archol., after a repeated examination of the matter I cannot any longer regard it as well-founded, but am obliged to subscribe to the view held by Hitzig and Kliefoth, "that this rendering of the lxx carries on the face of it the probability of its resting upon nothing more than an attempt to bring the text into harmony with the ordinary value of the mina." For apart from the fact that nothing is known of the existence of five and ten shekel pieces, it is impossible to get any intelligible meaning from the words, that five shekels are to be worth five shekels, and ten shekels worth ten shekels, as it was self-evident that five shekels could not be worth either four shekels or six.)

And the other attempts that have been made to explain the difficult words are no satisfactory. The explanation given by Cocceius and J. D. Michaelis (Supplem. ad lex. p. 1521), that three different minas are mentioned, - a smaller one of fifteen Mosaic shekels, a medium size of twenty shekels, and a large one of twenty-five-is open to the objection justly pointed out by Bertheau, that in an exact definition of the true weight of anything we do not expect three magnitudes, and the purely arbitrary assumption of three different minas is an obvious subterfuge. The same thing applies to Hitzig's explanation, that the triple division, twenty, twenty-five, and fifteen shekels, has reference to the three kinds of metal used for coinage, viz., gold, silver, and copper, so that the gold mina was worth, or weighed, twenty shekels; the silver mina, twenty-five; and the copper mina, fifteen, - which has no tenable support in the statement of Josephus, that the shekel coined by Simon was worth four drachms; and is overthrown by the incongruity in the relation in which it places the gold to the silver, and both these metals to the copper. - There is evidently a corruption of very old standing in the words of the text, and we are not in possession of the requisite materials for removing it by emendation.

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