Daniel 2:46
Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.
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(46) Worshipped.—This act is of an entirely different nature from such as are mentioned Genesis 33:7; 1Kings 1:16. The Hebrew word employed here is always used (e.g., Isaiah 46:6) of paying adoration to an idol. Probably the king imagined that the gods were dwelling in Daniel in a higher sense from that in which they dwelt with his other wise men, and worshipped them on account of the marvellous revelation which they had vouchsafed to him through the means of Daniel.

Oblation.—That is, the unbloody offering customary among the Babylonians; some honour different from the present mentioned in Daniel 2:48.

Daniel 2:46. Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and worshipped Daniel — He was so astonished at hearing his whole dream declared and interpreted by Daniel with such exactness, and at finding such wonderful events foretold by it, that he was ready to think him more than man, (just as the Lycaonians and barbarians thought of St. Paul, Acts 14:13, &c., and Acts 28:6,) and therefore prostrated himself before him, intending, as it should seem, to pay him some kind of adoration. It must be observed, however, that “doing reverence by prostration was not only an act of worship paid to God, but often given to kings and great men, in the times of the Old Testament: see 2 Samuel 9:6; 2 Samuel 14:33. It was likewise an expression of reverence paid to prophets on account of the sanctity of their office, and not refused by them, 1 Kings 18:7. Of this kind, probably, was the worship paid by the leper to Christ, (Matthew 8:2,) whom he took for a prophet. But when other circumstances were added to it, which made it look like divine worship, then it was refused to be accepted, as in the case of Peter, (Acts 10:25,) and of the angel, Revelation 19:10. The adoration here described seems to have been of this latter kind, being joined with offering incense, an act of worship peculiar to God alone: see Ezra 6:10. For this reason it is highly probable that Daniel refused the honours offered to him, and put the king in mind that he should give God the glory; as we find he does in the following verse.” — Lowth.

2:46-49 It is our business to direct attention to the Lord, as the Author and Giver of every good gift. Many have thoughts of the Divine power and majesty, who do not think of serving God themselves. But all should strive, that God may be glorified, and the best interests of mankind furthered.Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face - This was the common method of signifying profound respect among the Orientals. Compare Genesis 17:3; Genesis 50:18; Leviticus 9:24; Numbers 14:5; Joshua 5:14; Judges 13:20; Revelation 11:16.

And worshipped Daniel - The word rendered "worshipped" here (סגד segid), in the Chaldee portions of the Bible is uniformly rendered "worship," Daniel 2:26; Daniel 3:5-7, Daniel 3:10-12, Daniel 3:14-15, Daniel 3:18, Daniel 3:28. It occurs nowhere else, and in every instance, except in the one before us, is employed with reference to the homage paid to an idol, all the other cases occurring in the third chapter respecting the image that was set up by Nebuchadnezzar. The corresponding Hebrew word (סגד sâgad) occurs only in Isaiah 44:15, Isaiah 44:17, Isaiah 44:19; Isaiah 46:6; and is, in every instance, rendered "fall down," also with reference to idols. The proper idea, therefore, of the word here is, that the monarch meant to render "religious" homage to Daniel, or such adoration as was usually paid to idols. This is confirmed by witat is immediately added, that he commanded that an oblation should be made to him. It is not, however, necessary to suppose that Daniel "received" or "approved" this religious homage of the king, or that he left the impression on his mind that he was "willing" to be honored as a god. The prostration of the king before him, of course, he could not prevent. The views and feelings which the monarch had in doing it he could not prevent. The command to present an "oblation and sweet odors to him" he could not prevent. But it is not a fair inference that Daniel approved this, or that he did anything to countenance it, or even that he did not, in a proper manner, rebuke it: for

(1) We are not to suppose that all that was said was recorded, and no one can prove that Daniel did not express his disapprobation of this religious honor shown to him.

(2) Daniel had in fact, expressed his views, in the clearest manner, on this very point before the monarch. He had, again and again, disclaimed all power to be able to reveal such secrets. He had directed his mind to the true God, as he who alone could disclose coming events, Daniel 2:28, Daniel 2:30, Daniel 2:45. He had taken all possible precaution to prevent any such result, by declaring, in the most emphatic terms Daniel 2:30, that this secret was not revealed to him "on account of any wisdom which he had more than any living." If now, after all this precaution, and these disclaimers, the king should prostrate himself before him, and, for the moment, feel that he was in the presence of a God, Daniel was not responsible for it, and it should not be inferred that he encouraged or approved it.

(3) It would seem, from the narrative itself, more than probable that Daniel did refuse the homage, and direct the thoughts of the monarch to the true God. In the very next verse it is said, "The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets." "Answered" what? Perhaps something that was said by Daniel. At all events, it is clear from this that whatever were the momentary expressions of wonder, gratitude, and adoration, on the part of the king, his thoughts soon passed to the proper object of worship - the true God. "And commanded, etc." The fact that this was "commanded" does not prove that it was done. The command was probably given under the excitement of his admiration and wonder. But it does not follow that Daniel received it, or that the command was not recalled on reflection, or that the oblation and odors may not have been presented to the true God.

That they should offer an oblation - That is, his attendants, or perhaps the priests to whom pertained the duty of making offerings to the gods. The word rendered "oblation" (מנחה minchāh) does not refer to a, "bloody" sacrifice, but means a gift or present of any kind. It is applied in the Scriptures to denote

(1) "a gift," or "present," Genesis 32:13, Genesis 32:18, Genesis 32:20 (Genesis 32:14, Genesis 32:19, Genesis 32:21); Genesis 43:11, Genesis 43:15, Genesis 43:25-26;

(2) "a tribute," such as was exacted from a subject nation, under the notion of a present, 2 Samuel 8:2, 2 Samuel 8:6; 1 Kings 4:21 1 Kings 5:1,

(3) "an offering" or sacrifice to God, especially a bloodless offering, in opposition to (זבח zebach) - a bloody sacrifice, Leviticus 2:1, Leviticus 2:4-6; Leviticus 6:14 (7); Leviticus 7:9; Psalm 40:6 (7); Jeremiah 17:26.

See the word fully explained in the notes at Isaiah 1:13. There can be no doubt that Nebuchadnezzar meant that such an offering should be presented as was usually made in idol worship.

And sweet odors - incense was commonly used in worship (see the notes at Isaiah 1:13), and it is not improbable that in the worship of the gods it was accompanied with other fragrant odors. Sweet odors, or "savors," expressed by the same word which is used here, were a part of the prescribed worship in the Hebrew ritual, Leviticus 1:9, Leviticus 1:13, Leviticus 1:17; Leviticus 2:2, Leviticus 2:9; Leviticus 3:5; Leviticus 6:21 (14); Numbers 15:7.

46. fell upon … face, and worshipped Daniel—worshipping God in the person of Daniel. Symbolical of the future prostration of the world power before Messiah and His kingdom (Php 2:10). As other servants of God refused such honors (Ac 10:25, 26; 14:13-15; Re 22:8, 9), and Daniel (Da 1:8) would not taste defiled food, nor give up prayer to God at the cost of his life (Da 6:7, 10), it seems likely that Daniel rejected the proffered divine honors. The word "answered" (Da 2:47) implies that Daniel had objected to these honors; and in compliance with his objection, "the king answered, Of a truth, your God is a God of gods." Daniel had disclaimed all personal merit in Da 2:30, giving God all the glory (compare Da 2:45).

commanded … sweet odours—divine honors (Ezr 6:10). It is not said his command was executed.

This was strange, that so great a monarch should thus worship his vassal: thus was it sometimes done to men, as to Elias the prophet, 2 Kings 1:13: this was done in consternation and admiration, because he saw so much of God in the prophet, and in the revelation of the dream; but why did Daniel suffer it to be done to him?

1. Though he could not hinder the king in his prostration, and in his word of command, yet doubtless he showed his averseness with much zeal and abhorrence, as the apostles did in the like case, Acts 14:13-15, because it was high sacrilege and idolatry.

2. It is not said they offered sacrifice to Daniel, but only the king commanded it, which doubtless Daniel refused, because he was so careful in not defiling himself with the king’s dainties, Daniel 1:8; also when he would not omit the worship of God, though with the hazard of his life, Daniel 6:10; therefore the king, being instructed of Daniel, gives God all the glory, in the next words.

Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel,.... Imagining there was something of divinity in him, that he could so exactly tell him his dream, which was past and gone; and give him the interpretation of it, respecting things to come, which he concluded none but God could do; and therefore, after the manner of the eastern people, threw himself prostrate to the earth, with his face to it, and gave religious adoration to Daniel; for that this cannot be understood of mere civil respect appears by his following orders; and had he not thought that Daniel was something more than a man, he, a proud monarch, would never have behaved in this manner to him; but, being struck with amazement at the relation of the dream, and the interpretation of it, he forgot what both he and Daniel were; the one a mighty king, the other a mere man, a servant, yea, a captive: this shows that he was not exasperated at the account of the fall of his monarchy, as might have been expected, but was filled with wonder at the revelation made:

and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him; rising from the ground, he gave orders to his servants about him, some of whom might be the priests of Bel, that they would bring a meat offering, and incense with it, and offer them to him as to a god; but, though this was ordered, we do not read it was done; for it cannot be thought that Daniel, who had scrupled eating the king's food, and drinking his wine, lest he should be defiled, and afterwards chose rather to be cast into a den of lions than to omit prayer to God, would ever suffer such a piece of idolatrous worship to be paid to him; and though he could not hinder the king's prostration and adoration, which were very sudden; yet it is highly probable he reasoned with the king upon it, and earnestly desired that no such undue honours should be paid to him; declaring that this knowledge was not of himself, but of God, to whom the glory ought to be given.

Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and {b} worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.

(b) Though this humbling of the king seemed to deserve commendation, yet because he united God's honour with the Prophets, it is to be reproved, and Daniel would have erred, if he allowed it: but it is to his credit that Daniel admonished him of his fault, and did not allow it.

46. fell upon his face] a mark of respect—whether to God, as Genesis 17:3, or to men, 2 Samuel 9:6; 2 Samuel 14:4.

and worshipped Daniel] bowed down to Daniel,—the word used in Daniel 3:5-7 &c. of adoration paid to a deity. In the Targums, however, the same word is used (for the Heb. to prostrate oneself to) of obeisance done to a human superior (as 2 Samuel 14:33; 2 Samuel 18:21; 2 Samuel 18:28; 2 Samuel 24:20); so that it does not necessarily imply the payment of divine honour.

that they should offer] lit. pour out,—the word used of pouring out a libation or drink-offering (2 Kings 16:13, and elsewhere), though here employed evidently in a more general sense.

an oblation] The word means properly a present, especially one offered as a mark of homage or respect (Genesis 32:13; Genesis 43:11); it is also used generally in the sense of an oblation presented to God (Genesis 4:3-5; 1 Samuel 2:17), as well as technically, in the priestly terminology, of the ‘meal-offering’ (Leviticus 3 &c.). The second of these three senses is the most probable here.

sweet odours] lit. rests or contentments. The word is that which occurs in the sacrificial expression ‘sweet savour’ (Genesis 8:21; Leviticus 1:2, &c.), lit. ‘savour of rest or contentment’: it is used (exceptionally) without ‘savour,’ exactly as here, in Ezra 6:10, ‘that they may offer rests (or contentments) to the God of heaven.’ ‘Bowed down to’ is ambiguous; but the subsequent parts of the verse certainly represent Daniel as receiving the homage due to a god. Daniel does not refuse the homage (contrast Acts 14:13-18): in the view of the writer, he is (cf. Daniel 2:47) the representative of the God of gods to Nebuchadnezzar. Compare the story in Jos. Ant. xi. viii. 5, according to which Alexander the Great prostrated himself before the Jewish high-priest, and when asked by his astonished general, Parmenio, why he did so, replied, “I do not worship the high-priest, but the God with whose high-priesthood he has been honoured.”

46–48. Nebuchadnezzar is profoundly impressed by Daniel’s skill, and bestows upon him high honour and rewards (cf. the promise of Daniel 2:6).

Verse 46. - Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. The Greek versions render in such a way that we are almost obliged to recognize an act of idolatrous worship. Jerome, too, distinctly says," Nebuchodonoser... Danielem ador-avit et hostias et incensnm praecepit ut sacri-ficarent." The same idea is conveyed by the Peshitta, but less definitely, from the fact that qorban means a "gift" as well as an "oblation;" though the gift is usually a consecrated gift. In the Aramaic of the Bible we have certain phrases used for "sacrifice;" several of these are here employed: it is true all of them have the possibility of being used in a somewhat lower meaning. The mere "falling down before Daniel upon his face," when the person who did it was Nebuchadnezzar, is extraordinary, and can only be explained by the idea of worship. When we find the word סְגַד (segad) used immediately after, it is very difficult to refuse to believe that the Greek Version and Jerome are right when they translate the latter word προσεκύνησε. The word occurs repeatedly in the following chapter, invariably as "worship." The corresponding Hebrew word occurs in the second chapter of Isaiah, in the sense of "idolatrous worship" (Isaiah 2:20). It certainly does mean "to bend." Had the word thus stood alone, we could not have been certain that it meant "worship;" but when it follows the extreme act of prostration to the earth, "worship' must be meant. The separate terms, minhah, nihohin, lenassakah lah, might, taken separately, mean "gifts" and the "bestowment of gifts;" but, taken together, it is impossible not to regard the action as one of sacrificial offering. It is true minhah means "a present," as when Jacob sends a present to Esau (Genesis 32:13); but, in that connection, nasak is not used. It is quite true that the burning of sweet odours was a common enough thing in entertaining guests whom it was desired to honour, but the term neehoheen was not given to the aromatic woods so used. People sometimes, even at present, scent their rooms by burning aromatic woods, but they never in such cases call them incense. But from the fact that the old Greek version and Jerome read θυσίας, hostias, the doubt seems forced upon us that the reading here has been altered, and that the true reading was deebheen - not neehoheen - this is a change that could with difficulty be imagined as occurring accidentally, but readily enough might happen from the desire to defend Daniel from the charge of allowing idolatrous worship to be offered to him. The instance referred to as parallel - the homage which Josephus relates Alexander the Great gave to Jaddua - is not quite on all fours with the present case. We are, in the first place, expressly told that it was "the name" of Jehovah, engraved on the petalon on the front of the priest's mitre, that Alexander worshipped (προσεκύνησε τό ὄνομα). In the next place, we have no notice of sacrifice or incense being ordered to be offered to the high priest. It is not correct to say that nasak of necessity means "pour out an oblation," to the exclusion of the more general meaning of "offer sacrifice." The corresponding word in Arabic means "to sacrifice" (Behrmann). Behrmann says, in regard to this, truly, "As to Porphyry later, so to the author and to the first readers of this book, it would have seemed indecent if Daniel had allowed himself to be honoured as a god." This would have been true had the author been a contemporary of the Maccabees. The tide of feeling that led Peter to refuse the prostration of Cornelius, and Paul and Barnabas the sacrifices at Lystra, would have prevented any one inventing such a scene. It is perfectly true the worship was probably directed to the Divine Spirit as resident in Daniel, rather than to Daniel himself; few except the lowest and most degraded of heathen worshipped idols in any other way - the divine spirit, the deity, was the real object of worship, whose sign they were, and who resided in them. We must bear in mind that Daniel had been brought up in an idolatrous court, perhaps, also, he had to submit, on pain of suffering the fate that befell Paul and Barnabas when they refused the worship of the people of Lystra. We must lay stress on the very different relationship to idolatry and its worship implied in Daniel thus suffering sacrifice and incense to be offered to him, from that subsisting in the time of the Maccabees. No writer of that period would have written a sacred romance in which he represented a servant of God receiving idolatrous honours. The attitude of later Judaism is exemplified by Jephet-ibn-Ali, who says that though "Nebuchadnezzar commanded that sacrifices be brought to him as to a god, he (Daniel) does not say that he brought them to him. Most probably Daniel prohibited him from doing so." Daniel 2:46The impression which this interpretation of the dream made upon Nebuchadnezzar, and the consequences which thence arose for Daniel.

The announcement and the interpretation of the remarkable dream made so powerful an impression on Nebuchadnezzar, that he fell down in supplication before Daniel and ordered sacrifice to be offered to him. Falling prostrate to the earth is found as a mark of honour to men, it is true (1 Samuel 20:41; 1 Samuel 25:28; 2 Samuel 14:4), but סגד is used only of divine homage (Isaiah 44:15, Isaiah 44:17, Isaiah 44:19; Isaiah 46:6, and Daniel 3:5.). To the Chaldean king, Daniel appeared as a man in whom the gods manifested themselves; therefore he shows to him divine honour, such as was shown by Cornelius to the Apostle Peter, and at Lystra was shown to Paul and Barnabas, Acts 10:25; Acts 14:13. מנחה, an unbloody sacrifice, and ניחחין, are not burnt sacrifices or offerings of pieces of fat (Hitz.), but incensings, the offering of incense; cf. Exodus 30:9, where the קטרת is particularly mentioned along with the עלה and the מנחה. נסּך is, with Hitz., to be taken after the Arabic in the general signification sacrificare, but is transferred zeugmatically from the pouring out of a drink-offering to the offering of a sacrifice. Daniel 2:47, where Nebuchadnezzar praises the God of the Jews as the God of gods, does not stand in contradiction to the rendering of divine honour to Daniel in such a way that, with Hitz., in the conduct of the king we miss consistency and propriety, and find it improbable. For Nebuchadnezzar did not pray to the man Daniel, but in the person of Daniel to his God, i.e., to the God of the Jews; and he did this because this God had manifested Himself to him through Daniel as the supreme God, who rules over kings, and reveals hidden things which the gods of the Chaldean wise men were not able to reveal. Moreover, in this, Nebuchadnezzar did not abandon his heathen standpoint. He did not recognise the God of the Jews as the only, or the alone true God, but only as God of gods, as the highest or the most exalted of the gods, who excelled the other gods in might and in wisdom, and was a Lord of kings, and as such must be honoured along with the gods of his own country. מן־קשׁט דּי, of truth (it is) that, stands adverbially for truly.

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