Daniel 2:35
Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
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(35) Like the chaff.—This language recalls Psalm 1:4; Psalm 2:9. It is emblematic of Divine judgments, as Isaiah 41:15-16; Jeremiah 51:33, &c. Comp. with this the description of the Judgment, Daniel 7:9-14. Observe, however, that the stone did not crush the head, breast, or loins of the body. These became fragments by falling when the feet were broken. (Comp. Daniel 7:12.)

2:31-45 This image represented the kingdoms of the earth, that should successively rule the nations, and influence the affairs of the Jewish church. 1. The head of gold signified the Chaldean empire, then in being. 2. The breast and arms of silver signified the empire of the Medes and Persians. 3. The belly and thighs of brass signified the Grecian empire, founded by Alexander. 4. The legs and feet of iron signified the Roman empire. The Roman empire branched into ten kingdoms, as the toes of these feet. Some were weak as clay, others strong as iron. Endeavours have often been used to unite them, for strengthening the empire, but in vain. The stone cut out without hands, represented the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, which should be set up in the kingdoms of the world, upon the ruins of Satan's kingdom in them. This was the Stone which the builders refused, because it was not cut out by their hands, but it is become the head stone of the corner. Of the increase of Christ's government and peace there shall be no end. The Lord shall reign, not only to the end of time, but when time and days shall be no more. As far as events have gone, the fulfilling this prophetic vision has been most exact and undeniable; future ages shall witness this Stone destroying the image, and filling the whole earth.Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floor - The word rendered "together" (כצרה kachădâh) our translators would seem to have understood as referring to "time;" to its being done simultaneously. The more literal interpretation, however, is, "as one;" that is, "they were beaten small as one," referring to identity of condition. They were all reduced to one indiscriminate mass; to such a mass that the original materials could no longer be distinguished, and would all be blown away together. The literal meaning of the word (חד chad used and חדה chădâh) is, "one," or "first." Ezra 4:8, "wrote a letter;" Ezra 5:13, "in the first year of Cyrus;" Ezra 6:2, "a roll;" Daniel 2:9; "there is but one decree for you;" Daniel 3:19, "heat the furnace one seven times hotter," etc. United with the preposition (כ k) it means "as one," like the Hebrew כאחד ke'echâd) - Ecclesiastes 11:6; 2 Chronicles 5:13; Ezra 2:64; Ezra 3:9; Isaiah 65:25. The phrase "chaff of the summer threshing-floors" refers to the mode of winnowing grain in the East. This was done in the open air, usually on an elevated place, by throwing the grain, when thrashed, into the air with a shovel, and the wind thus drove away the chaff. Such chaff, therefore, naturally became an emblem of anything that was light, and that would be easily dissipated. See the notes at Isaiah 30:24; Matthew 3:12.

And the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them - They were entirely dissipated like chaff. As that seems to have no longer any place, but is carried we know not where, so the figure here would denote an entire annihilation of the power to which it refers.

And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth - The vision which was before the mind of the king as here represented was, that the stone which was cut out of the mountain was at first small, and that while he contemplated it, it swelled to larger dimensions, until it became an immense mountain - a mountain that filled the whole land. It was this which, perhaps more than anything else, excited his wonder, that a stone, at first of so small dimensions, should of itself so increase as to surpass the size of the mountain from which it was cut, until it occupied every place in view. Everything about it was so remarkable and unusual, that it was no wonder that he could not explain it. We have now gone over a description of the literal vision as it appeared to the mind of the monarch. Had it been left here, it is clear that it would have been of difficult interpretation, and possibly the true explanation might never have been suggested. We have, however, an exposition by Daniel, which leaves no doubt as to its design, and which was intended to carry the mind forward into some of the most important and remarkable events of history. A portion of his statement has been fulfilled; a part remains still unaccomplished, and a careful exposition of his account of the meaning of the vision will lead our thoughts to some of the most important historical events which have occurred in introducing the Christian dispensation, and to events still more important in the statement of what is yet to come.

35. broken … together—excluding a contemporaneous existence of the kingdom of the world and the kingdom of God (in its manifested, as distinguished from its spiritual, phase). The latter is not gradually to wear away the former, but to destroy it at once, and utterly (2Th 1:7-10; 2:8). However, the Hebrew may be translated, "in one discriminate mass."

chaff—image of the ungodly, as they shall be dealt with in the judgment (Ps 1:4, 5; Mt 3:12).

summer threshing-floors—Grain was winnowed in the East on an elevated space in the open air, by throwing the grain into the air with a shovel, so that the wind might clear away the chaff.

no place … found for them—(Re 20:11; compare Ps 37:10, 36; 103:16).

became … mountain—cut out of the mountain (Da 2:45) originally, it ends in becoming a mountain. So the kingdom of God, coming from heaven originally, ends in heaven being established on earth (Re 21:1-3).

filled … earth—(Isa 11:9; Hab 2:14). It is to do so in connection with Jerusalem as the mother Church (Ps 80:9; Isa 2:2, 3).

No text from Poole on this verse.

Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together,.... The feet, the basis of the image, being broken, the whole body of it fell, and with its own weight was broken to pieces; an emblem this of the utter dissolution of all the monarchies and kingdoms of the earth, signified by these several metals:

and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; which is exceeding small and light:

and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them; for the several metals, and the monarchies signified by them, which were no more: the allusion is to the manner of winnowing corn in the eastern countries upon mountains, when the chaff was carried away by the wind, and seen no more:

and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the earth; Christ's kingdom, from small beginnings, has increased, and will more and more, until the whole earth is subject to it: this began to have its accomplishment in the first times of the Gospel, especially when the Roman empire, as Pagan, was destroyed by Constantine, and the kingdom of Christ was set up in it; and it received a further accomplishment at the time of the Reformation, when Rome Papal had a deadly blow given it, and the Gospel of Christ was spread in several nations and kingdoms; but it will receive its full accomplishment when both the eastern and western antichrists shall be destroyed, and the kingdoms of this world shall become the Lord's and his Christ's, Revelation 11:15.

Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
35. The absolute dissipation of the image. The feet being broken, the entire image fell to pieces; and the fragments were dispersed by the wind. A fall would not naturally break masses of metal into fragments small enough to be scattered by the wind; but in a dream physical impossibilities or improbabilities occasion no difficulty.

threshingfloors] which were generally on exposed or elevated spots, where the chaff might readily be cleared away by the wind. Cf. Hosea 13:3, Isaiah 41:16, Psalm 1:4; and with no place, &c., Revelation 20:11.

became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth] another figure, the incongruity of which would not be perceived in a dream, implying the irresistible expansive force, and also the ultimate universality, of the kingdom of God (Daniel 2:44).

Verse 35. - Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors. The versions arc closer to the Massoretic than our Authorized Version, as they all give more prominence to כַחֲדָה (kahadah), "at once." It is rendered "together." The LXX. renders ἅμα; Theodotion, εἰσάπαξ the Peshitta repeats the word; and Jerome renders pariter. Theedotion changes the order somewhat, for the sake of making it more symmetrical. The rendering of the LXX. is in some respects different from the natural sense of the Massoretic text, but not so much so as to require us to presume a radically different text: "Then the iron, and the clay, etc., became fragments, and they were smaller than the chaff of the threshing-floor." We have this verse also in the Itala, preserved to us in Tertullian, but it does not differ from Jerome seriously. It would follow naturally enough if the mighty image were so smitten on its weak and fragile feet, that it would come crashing to the earth; but more happened than this. As the monarch looked, in falling, the various parts of the image, as they fell in a heap, became broken, nay, triturated - they became as the dust or chaff of the summer threshing-floor. Summer is the dead time in the East; harvest is over by the end of June, and the threshing of corn then commences. All this huge statue was reduced to particles as small and light as the chaff that is beaten off the grain by the threshing instruments of those days - feet of oxen or wheel of cart. Chaff is a favourite symbol for lightness and worthlessness. In the first psalm the wicked are compared to chaff; so in Psalm 28. In Hosea, where he speaks (Hosea 13:3) of Israel's sins, he says, "Ephraim shall be like the chaff of the threshing-floor." Isaiah (Isaiah 41:15, 16) speaks of Jacob getting new threshing instruments to thresh the mountains, and make them small as chaff. It may be noted that the word here translated "chaff" only occurs here. The word does not appear in the Targums, instead of which is used מוצ (motz), the Hebrew word. In Syriac, again, in the Peshitta, it occurs frequently, as Psalm 1:4 and Isaiah 40:15 - another sign, slight in itself, of the Eastern origin of the Book of Daniel. The fact that the word occurred in Daniel would have a tendency to preserve it if in use when Daniel was published, or introduce it if it were not. Yet, as we have said, it does not appear in the Targums. It does appear in Syriac, the language of a people who, as not Jews, would presumably not be familiar with Daniel. The word for "threshing-floor," אִדְּרֵי (iddrei), is also one that does not appear in the Targums, but it does appear in the Peshitta. Jensen suggests an Assyrian etymology, but Brockelmann marks this doubtful; Lagarde suggests a Persian etymology, also marked doubtful. Whichever etymology holds bears out the Eastern origin of the book. The Targums represent the older Aramaic of Palestine. If Daniel were a book originating in Palestine, the Persian words appearing in it might also be expected to appear in the Targums. And the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. The LXX. rendering is, "And the wind carried them away, so that there was nothing left of them, and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and smote the whole earth." The first portion of this is a fairly correct rendering of our present Massoretic text. On the other hand, the latter clause implies that the translator had before him, or imagined he had, not מלאת, but מחת; not impossibly מלאת might be written without the silent a; thus, מלת, as in the Peshitta. In that case the mistake might easily be made. Behrmann remarks on the vocalization of מלאת in this passage being the same as מחת, but does not remark that it is written defectively in Syriac. The sense in the Massoretic text is much better than that implied in this reading. Theodotion's rendering differs in the first clause of this portion of the present verse, "And the abundance (πλῆθος) of wind carried it away, and place was not found for them: and the stone, when it had smitten (πατάξας) the image, became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth." The rendering "multitude" (πλῆθος) is due to reading הָמון instead of הִמון. This form of the plural of the demonstrative pronoun is the commoner in Biblical Aramaic, but does not appear in the Targums nor the Peshitta. It is akin to the Mandaitic הינון. Neither the Peshitta nor the Vulgate presents any peculiarities of rendering. All this mass that had formed the image, though it had been gold, silver, brass, and iron, yet was so ground down - had become reduced to particles so small, that the wind carried them away. So scattered were they that they collected in no special place, so that one could say, "This is the image." The figure is still that of the threshing-floor; the wind, blowing on the grain that is lifted up before it, carries away the chaff, but, search as one may, the chaff, once blown away, cannot be found. A more remarkable thing now takes place - the stone that, bounding down the mountainside, had smitten the image on the feet, so that it fell and became as dust, now grows apace, overtopping the utmost height the image had attained, overtopping the mountain from which it had been cut. Not only did it grow in height, but, as it increased in height, its base broadened till the whole earth was filled with it. There seems to be a reference here to Isaiah 2:2, "The mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it." As the monarch gazes in his dream, the change is completed, the huge image, with its glittering head and gleaming breast, its polished thighs and legs of iron, its unseemly feet that inspired terror by its very appearance, had utterly disappeared, and its place was occupied by a mountain, huge but peaceful, on which the flocks might browse and trees might grow. It may be noted, though not as of importance, that the material of the mountain is most akin with that of the weak clay of which the feet of the image were largely composed. Such, then, is the dream which Nebuchadnezzar had seen, and which the prophet now presented once more before him. We must, however, glance at the picture presented by the reading of the LXX. To the translator the picture evidently present was that of a stone descending from the mountain, and increasing in momentum as it descends; but this stone further increases in size, till before its tremendous strokes and rebounds the very solid earth quakes. Daniel 2:35The description of the image according to its several parts is introduced with the absolute צלמא הוּא, concerning this image, not: "this was the image." The pronoun הוּא is made prominent, as דּנה, Daniel 4:15, and the Hebr. זה more frequently, e.g., Isaiah 23:13. חדוהי, plural חדין - its singular occurs only in the Targums - corresponding with the Hebr. חזה, the breast. מצין, the bowels, here the abdomen enclosing the bowels, the belly. ירכה, the thighs (hfte) and upper part of the loins. Daniel 2:33. שׁק, the leg, including the upper part of the thigh. מנהון is partitive: part of it of iron. Instead of מנהון the Keri prefers the fem. מנהן here and at Daniel 2:41 and Daniel 2:42, with reference to this, that רגליו is usually the gen. fem., after the custom of nouns denoting members of the body that are double. The Kethiv unconditionally deserves the preference, although, as the apparently anomalous form, which appears with this suffix also in Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:20, after substantives of seemingly feminine meaning, where the choice of the masculine form is to be explained from the undefined conception of the subjective idea apart from the sex; cf. Ewald's Lehr. d. hebr. Sp. 319.

The image appears divided as to its material into four or five parts - the head, the breast with the arms, the belly with the thighs, and the legs and feet. "Only the first part, the head, constitutes in itself a united whole; the second, with the arms, represents a division; the third runs into a division in the thighs; the fourth, bound into one at the top, divides itself in the two legs, but has also the power of moving in itself; the fifth is from the first divided in the legs, and finally in the ten toes runs out into a wider division. The material becomes inferior from the head downward - gold, silver, copper, iron, clay; so that, though on the whole metallic, it becomes inferior, and finally terminates in clay, losing itself in common earthly matter. Notwithstanding that the material becomes always the harder, till it is iron, yet then suddenly and at last it becomes weak and brittle clay." - Klief. The fourth and fifth parts, the legs and the feet, are, it is true, externally separate from each other, but inwardly, through the unity of the material, iron, are bound together; so that we are to reckon only four parts, as afterwards is done in the interpretation. This image Nebuchadnezzar was contemplating (Daniel 2:34), i.e., reflected upon with a look directed toward it, until a stone moved without human hands broke loose from a mountain, struck against the lowest part of the image, broke the whole of it into pieces, and ground to powder all its material from the head even to the feet, so that it was scattered like chaff of the summer thrashing-floor. בידין לא דּי does not mean: "which was not in the hands of any one" (Klief.), but the words are a prepositional expression for without; ב לא, not with equals without, and דּי expressing the dependence of the word on the foregoing noun. Without hands, without human help, is a litotes for: by a higher, a divine providence; cf. Daniel 8:25; Job 34:20; Lamentations 4:6. כּחדה, as one equals at once, with one stroke. דּקוּ for דּקּוּ is not intransitive or passive, but with an indefinite plur. subject: they crushed, referring to the supernatural power by which the crushing was effected. The destruction of the statue is so described, that the image passes over into the matter of it. It is not said of the parts of the image, the head, the breast, the belly, and the thighs, that they were broken to pieces by the stone, "for the forms of the world-power represented by these parts had long ago passed away, when the stone strikes against the last form of the world-power represented by the feet," but only of the materials of which these parts consist, the silver and the gold, is the destruction replicated; "for the material, the combinations of the peoples, of which these earlier forms of the world-power consist, pass into the later forms of it, and thus are all destroyed when the stone destroys the last form of the world-power" (Klief.). But the stone which brought this destruction itself became a great mountain which filled the whole earth. To this Daniel added the interpretation which he announces in Daniel 2:36. נאמר, we will tell, is "a generalizing form of expression" (Kran.) in harmony with Daniel 2:30. Daniel associates himself with his companions in the faith, who worshipped the same God of revelation; cf. Daniel 2:23.

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