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; 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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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.)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.
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).
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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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.
Ezekiel 46:19. And he brought me up the entrance by the shoulder of the gate to the holy cells for the priests, which looked to the north; and behold there was a place on the outermost side toward the west. Ezekiel 46:20. And he said to me, This is the place where the priests boil the trespass-offering and the sin-offering, where they bake the meat-offering that they may not need to carry it out into the outer court, to sanctify the people. Ezekiel 46:21. And he led me out into the outer court, and caused me to pass by the four corners of the court; and behold, in every corner of the court there was again a court. Ezekiel 46:22. In the four corners of the court were closed courts of forty cubits in length and thirty cubits in breadth; all four corner spaces had one measure. Ezekiel 46:23. And a row of stands was round about therein in all four, and boiling hearths were under the rows made round about. Ezekiel 46:24. And he said to me, These are the kitchen-house, where the servants of the house boil the slain-offering of the people. - In the list and description of the subordinate buildings of the temple, the sacrificial kitchens are passed over; and they are therefore referred to here again in a supplementary manner. Ewald has shifted Ezekiel 46:19-24, and placed them after Ezekiel 42:14, which would certainly have been the most suitable place for mentioning the sacrificial kitchens for the priests. But it is evident that they stood here originally, and not there; not only from the fact that in Ezekiel 46:19 the passage to the holy cells (Ezekiel 42:1.) is circumstantially described, which would have been unnecessary if the description of the kitchens had originally followed immediately after Ezekiel 42:14, as Ezekiel was then standing by the cells; but also, and still more clearly, from the words that serve as an introduction to what follows, "he led me back to the door of the house" (Ezekiel 47:1), which are unintelligible unless he had changed his standing-place between Ezekiel 46:18 and Ezekiel 47:1, as is related in Ezekiel 46:19 and Ezekiel 46:21, since Ezekiel had received the sacrificial thorah (Ezekiel 44:5-46:18) in front of the house (Ezekiel 44:4). If Ezekiel 46:19-24 had originally stood elsewhere, so that Ezekiel 47:1 was immediately connected with Ezekiel 46:18, the transition-formula in Ezekiel 47:1 would necessarily have read very differently. - But with this section the right of the preceding one, Ezekiel 46:16-18, which Ewald has arbitrarily interpolated in Ezekiel 45 between Ezekiel 45:8 and Ezekiel 45:9, to hold its present place in the chapter before us as an appendix, is fully vindicated. - The holy cells (Ezekiel 46:19) are those of the northern cell-building (Ezekiel 42:1-10) described in Ezekiel 42:1-14 (see Plate I L). בּמּבוא is the approach or way mentioned in Ezekiel 42:9, which led from the northern inner gate to these cells (see Plate I l); not the place to which Ezekiel was brought (Kliefoth), but the passage along which he was led. The spot to which he was conducted follows in אל (the article before the construct state, as in Ezekiel 43:21, etc.). אל הכּהנים is appended to this in the form of an apposition; and here לשׁכות is to be repeated in thought: to those for the priests. 'הפּנות צ belongs to הלשׁכות. There, i.e., by the cells, was a space set apart at the outermost (hindermost) sides toward the west (Plate I M), for the boiling of the flesh of the trespass-offering and sin-offering, and the baking of the minchah, - that is to say, of those portions of the sacrifices which the priests were to eat in their official capacity (see the comm. on Ezekiel 42:13). For the motive assigned in Ezekiel 46:20 for the provision of special kitchens for this object, see the exposition of Ezekiel 44:19.
In addition to these, kitchens were required for the preparation of the sacrificial meals, which were connected with the offering of the shelamim, and were held by those who presented them. These sacrificial kitchens for the people are treated of in Ezekiel 46:20-24. They were situated in the four corners of the outer court (Plate I N). To show them to the prophet, the angel leads him into the outer court. The holy cells (Ezekiel 46:19) and the sacrificial kitchens for the priests (Ezekiel 46:20) were also situated by the outside wall of the inner court; and for this reason Ezekiel had already been led out of the inner court, where he had received the sacrificial thorah, through the northern gate of the court by the way which led to the holy cells, that he might be shown the sacrificial kitchens. When, therefore, it is stated in Ezekiel 46:21 that "he led me out into the outer court," יוציאני can only be explained on the supposition that the space from the surrounding wall of the inner court to the way which led from the gate porch of that court to the holy cells, and to the passage which continued this way in front of the cells (Plate I l and m), was regarded as an appurtenance of the inner court. In every one of the four corners of the outer court there was a (small) courtyard in the court. The repetition of 'חצר בּמקצע הח has a distributive force. The small courtyards in the four corners of the court were קטרות, i.e., not "uncovered," as this would be unmeaning, since all courts or courtyards were uncovered; nor "contracted" (Bttcher), for קטר has no such meaning; nor "fumum exhalantia," as the Talmudists suppose; nor "bridged over" (Hitzig), which there is also nothing in the language to sustain; but in all probability atria clausa, i.e., muris cincta et janius clausa (Ges. Thes.), from קטר; in Aram. ligavit; in Ethiop. clausit, obseravit januam. The word מהקצעות is marked with puncta extraordinaria by the Masoretes as a suspicious word, and is also omitted in the Septuagint and Vulgate. Bttcher and Hitzig have therefore expunged it as a gloss. But even Hitzig admits that this does not explain how it found its way into the text. The word is a Hophal participle of קצע, in the sense of cornered off, cut off into corners, and is in apposition to the suffix to לארבּעתּם, - literally, one measure wax to all four, the spaces or courtyards cut off in the corners. For this appositional use of the participle, compare 1 Kings 14:6. There is also a difference of opinion as to the meaning of the word טוּר, which only occurs here and in Exodus 28:17. and Ezekiel 39:10, where it signifies "row," and not "enclosure" (Kliefoth). טירות, which follows, is evidently merely the feminine plural, from טוּר, as טירה is also derived from טוּר, in the sense of "to encircle" (see the comm. on Psalm 69:26). Consequently טוּר does not mean a covering or boundary wall, but a row or shelf of brickwork which had several separate shelves, under which the cooking hearths were placed. מבשּׁלות, not kitchens, but cooking hearths; strictly speaking a partic. Piel, things which cause to boil. - בּית המּבשּׁלים - .liob ot e, kitchen house. משׁרתּי הבּית, the temple servants, as distinguished from the servants of Jehovah (Ezekiel 44:15-16), are the Levites (Ezekiel 44:11-12). עשׂוּי is construed as in Ezekiel 40:17 and Ezekiel 41:18-19.
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