And the king said to them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)I have dreamed.—It has been questioned whether the king had really forgotten his dream, or whether he only pretended to have done so in order that he might prove the skill of his wise men. The conduct of the Chaldæans (Daniel 2:10) makes the latter hypothesis possible. However, it is more in accordance with what is stated about the anxious condition of the king’s mind to assume that he remembered a portion of the dream, but that he had lost the general outline of it.Daniel 2:1.
and my spirit was troubled to know the dream; both that, and the meaning of it; he says nothing as yet about the interpretation of it; concluding that, if they could tell him the dream, they could explain it to him; or then it would be time enough to inquire after that.And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 3. - And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream. The Revised Version improves the English of the verse by putting the verb in the present, "My Spirit is troubled to know the dream." The Septuagint Version has the appearance of a paraphrase, "And the king said to them, I have seen a dream, and my spirit is troubled, and I desire to understand the dream." It is an unusual combination "to see a dream;" from its unusualness the reading of the Septuagint is to be preferred. In old Hebrew ל (l) and ז (z) are not unlike each other, nor are מ (m) and י (y). Yet these two, letters are the only differences between halamti, "I have dreamed." and hazithi. "I have seen." The Peshitta has haloma hazith, which gives the same combination, and would indicate that here too the Aramaic original is shining through It is however, difficult to see how such a word as ahpatz. "I wish," could drop out of the Massoretic. The must natural solution is that the translator added θέλω to complete the sense. Certainly a link is awanting as it stands in the ordinary interpretation of this verse. Theodotion agrees with the Massoretic, while the Vulgate paraphrases the last clause, "And the king said to them. I have seen a dream, and confused in mind I have forgot what I saw." The king has been perturbed by the dream, and his perturbation leads him to wish to knew the dream - not necessarily what the dream actually had been, but what it meant. Thus in Daniel 1:17 Daniel had understanding "in all visions and dreams;" this meant that he knew the meaning of dreams and visit us. The other versions give us no assistance to explain this. Archdeacon Rose says, "The king here plainly intimates that, though the dream had troubled and perplexed him. he could not remember what it was." It does not appear to us quite so plain It is certainly not impossible to imagine that, while the king had been strongly affected by the dream, he might not remember distinctly what it was. If, however, he had no remembrance of the dream, and only the feeling of perturbation, any grandiose vision might have been brought before him, and he would not have been able to check it, or say that was not the dream he had had. If, again, he had some fragmentary remembrance, he naturally would have told what he remembered, in order that they might reconstruct his dream for him. Nebuchadnezzar's great purpose is not merely to see again his dream, but really to test these soothsayers that promised so much. If they could with such certainty as they professed tell what was about to happen, surely it was no great demand that they should know this dream of his. The king seems merely to have made the general statement, and left the soothsayers to tell at once the dream and interpretation. There sits the king with troubled brow, and there stand before him the principal adepts at interpretation of dreams. Some have found it a difficulty that God should reveal the future to a heathen monarch. But in the parallel case of Pharaoh this occurred; certainly the future revealed to him was the immediate future of the, land he ruled, whereas the dream of Nebuchadnezzar extended in its revelation to the very end of time. Archdeacon Rose refers to Pilate's wife and her mysterious dream at the trial of our Lord. The revelation as given to Nebuchadnezzar served a double purpose - it gave emphasis to it when, not an obscure Hebrew scholar got the vision, but the great conqueror; further, it gave an occasion for bringing Daniel into prominence, and gave thus to trim and to his companions an opportunity of showing their fidelity to God. This gave an occasion for miracles, the effect of which was to strengthen the Jews in their faith. 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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