Daniel 2:48
Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.
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(48) The Province.—According to Daniel 3:2, the Babylonian empire consisted of several provinces, each of which had its own ruler or Shilton. Daniel became ruler of this one province of Babylon. What the other office was to which he was advanced may possibly be explained when further discoveries have been made. Hitherto it has been inexplicable.

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.There the king made Daniel a great man - That is, he gave him an honorable appointment; he so honored him that he was regarded as a great man. He was really made great by the grace of God, and the extraordinary favor which God had bestowed upon him, but the estimate which the king had of his greatness was shown by the tokens of the royal favor. "And gave him many great gifts." This is a common way of showing esteem in the East. The estimate in which one holds another is evinced by the variety and richness of the presents conferred on him. Hence, all persons of distinction expect gifts of those who approach them as expressive of their regard for them, and of the esteem in which they are held. Compare Daniel 2:6.

And made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon - Chaldee, השׁלטה hasheleṭēh - caused him to preside over, or to rule over, from the verb שׁלט shelaṭ, "to rule," and commonly applied to one who rules as a prince, or in an elevated office. From this word the terms "sultan" and "sultana" are derived.

And chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon - This would seem to be an appointment which did not pertain to him as governor of the province of Babylon, or as presiding in the capital, but was a separate appointment, and, therefore, an additional mark of favor. The phrase "chief of the governors" would seem to imply that the magi of Babylon were disposed in certain orders or classes, each of which had its appropriate head, like the head of a college or university. Daniel was placed over the whole as the president, principal, or chancellor. It had been the policy of Nebuchadnezzar to assemble at the capital the principal talent and learning of the realm. Compare the notes at Daniel 1:18-20; Daniel 2:2. Daniel thus, in both these stations of honor at an early period of life, though recently an unknown stranger, and a captive; was exalted to the highest honors which could be conferred on a subject, and raised to posts of distinction which would usually be regarded as the highest rewards which could be obtained by a long life of devotedness to the welfare of the country.

48. One reason for Nebuchadnezzar having been vouchsafed such a dream is here seen; namely, that Daniel might be promoted, and the captive people of God be comforted: the independent state of the captives during the exile and the alleviation of its hardships, were much due to Daniel. Made Daniel a great man, Chald. rabbi, magnified him.

Many great gifts; an estate suitable to his honour.

Ruler over the whole province of Babylon; gnal col medina over the chief province of Babylon, which was head, because of the metropolis; the word is also Arabic, and therefore used in Spain at this day.

Chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon: see Daniel 4:9. Daniel was chief of them in wisdom, for he could unfold what none of the wise men could. Again, he was chief in place and power, he had the rule and inspection of them which were students and professors of wisdom and learning, into their studies and manners, like a perpetual lord chancellor. Not that this holy prophet gave any encouragement to them in their unlawful arts and divinations, but rather discouraged and corrected them, leaching them the knowledge of the true God: thus doth the true religion top all the world, and make the grandeur thereof stoop to it, for it is the wisdom of God and the power of God.

Then the king made Daniel a great man,.... Advanced him to posts of great honour and dignity he was a great man before in spiritual things, in which he was made great by the Lord; and now he was made a great man in worldly things, through the providence of God; those that honour him he will honour:

and gave him many great gifts: gifts great in value, and many in number; rich garments, gold, silver, precious stones, and large estates to support his honour and grandeur; and which Daniel accepted of, not merely for his own use, but to do good with to his poor brethren the Jews in captivity:

and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon; the whole monarchy was divided into several provinces, over each of which was a deputy governor; this of Babylon was the chief of them, Babylon being the metropolis of the empire; the whole government of which, and all belonging to it, was given to Daniel; a proof of the king's high esteem for him:

and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon; here was an university consisting of several colleges, over each of which there was a governor, and Daniel was the president of them all; or the principal or chancellor of the university: this office he might accept of, that he might have an opportunity of inculcating true knowledge, and of checking and correcting what was impious and unlawful.

Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great {d} gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.

(d) Not that the Prophet was desirous of gifts or honour, but because by this means he might relieve his poor brethren, who were grievously oppressed in this their captivity, and he also received them, lest he should offend this cruel king, who willingly gave them.

48. made Daniel a great man] made Daniel great, i.e. advanced, promoted him.

made him to rule, &c.] i.e., probably, made him administrator of the principal province of the empire, in which the capital was; opp. to the local ‘provinces,’ Daniel 3:2.

and (appointed him) chief of the praefects over, &c.] The idea appears to be (Hitz., Keil, Pusey, p. 20) that each division, or class (Daniel 2:2), of the ‘wise men’ had its own head; and Daniel was promoted to have the supervision of them all. Cf. Daniel 4:9, Daniel 5:11 (‘made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and determiners of fates’). ‘Praefect’ (segan, Heb. sâgân) recurs Daniel 3:2-3; Daniel 3:27, Daniel 6:7; and is found also in Jeremiah 51:23; Jeremiah 51:28; Jeremiah 51:57; Ezekiel 23:6; Ezekiel 23:12; Ezekiel 23:23; Isaiah 41:25 (A.V. in Jer., Ez. rulers, in Is. princes; R.V. always deputy or ruler). It is a Hebraized form of the Assyrian shaknu (from shakânu, to appoint), a word used constantly in the inscriptions of the ‘praefect’ appointed by the Assyrian king to govern a conquered district, or a city. Here the term is used more generally, as it is also in Ezra 9:2, Nehemiah 2:16; Nehemiah 4:14; Nehemiah 4:19; Nehemiah 5:7; Nehemiah 5:17; Nehemiah 7:5; Nehemiah 12:40; Nehemiah 13:11, of certain civic officials in Jerusalem (A.V., R.V., ‘ruler’).

On the historical difficulty arising out of this statement respecting Daniel, see the Introd. p. lv, not[212].

[212] ote Cf. Ryle, Canon of the O. T., p. 104 ff.

Verses 48, 49. - Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king. In the Greek versions there is not much to be observed. The Septuagint renders the last clause of ver. 48 "chief and ruler (ἄρχοντα καὶ ἡγούμενον) of all the wise men of Babylon," reading us gan instead of signeen. Theodotion's is a fairly accurate rendering of the Massoretic text, as is also Jerome. The Peshitta renders this clause, "He made Daniel head over all the mighty men (rabiheela), and over all the wise men of Babylon." The translator must have inserted, or found before him inserted, the preposition על ('el), "over," between tab and signeen, evidently a false reading, due to ignorance of the form Babylonianand Assyrian titles assumed. The word סָגָן, or סְגַן:, was originally maintained to be Persian. Hitzig connects it with an Arabic root, sajan, but the true derivation is now found to be shokun (Assyrian), "governor." It appears in Hebrew in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the deutero-Isaiah, as well as in Ezra and Nehemiah, showing the unlikelihood of any Persian derivation. Hitzig appears to regard Daniel as made the king's regent over the whole empire of Babylon; but this is not at all the meaning of the words. We must not be led away to believe that all this promotion befell Daniel at once; the statement here is summary, and includes many steps, and perhaps several years. Even at the utmost of his exaltation, he is not represented here as being made the regent of Nebuchadnezzar. as Hitzig would maintain. It is really only the province of Babylon, if we may not restrict the meaning of the word medeena even further, and regard it as equivalent to "city." We admit that this restriction of significance is not supported by the versions, but the fact that in so many cases we have traces of Syriac influences in Daniel, and that medeena means in Syriac "a city," renders this supposition not an impossible one. The precise limits of the province of Babylon in the days of Nebuchadnezzar cannot be settled. In later times it consisted mainly of the territory between the Tigris and the Euphrates, south of the murus Medius, with some territory between the latter river and the desert (Professor Rawlinson). It may be that the satrapy of Babylon was of considerably less extent. The word hashleet means "to cause to rule." This would be made true by making Daniel overseer in any department of the government of the province. It is not necessary to maintain that Nebuchadnezzar made Daniel satrap of Babylonia; at the same time, shalet is the title given to the satrap of Babylon. M. Lenormant thinks there must be an interpolation when Daniel is said to be set over all the governors of the wise men in Babylon. His arguments are founded mainly on the belief that the castes of astrologers, soothsayers, and magians - all that were included in the class of hakmeen - were hereditary, a thing which has not been proved. A difficulty has been urged by Lenormant that Daniel, as a zealous Jew, could not become head of a college of idolatrous priests. While there may be some force in this, one must beware of testing the actions of a Jew of the sixth century B.C. by criteria and principles applicable to one of later times. At all events, this militates strongly against the idea that the Book of Daniel was written in the age of the Maccabees. When we see Daniel thus, a youth of probably two or three and twenty, promoted ultimately to be over the province of Babylon, and to be one of the king's most trusted councillors, Ezekiel's saying, which places him between Noah and Job (Ezekiel 14:14), becomes natural. Daniel had already been some years in the king's privy council before Ezekiel was carried into captivity. We do not know how long after the beginning of his prophetic work we are to date the prophecy of the fourteenth chapter - it may have been eight or nine years after. But even if it were only six years, Daniel would by this time have been for eleven years a member of the privy council of the Babylonian monarch, and possibly for a considerable portion of that period governor of the province of Babylon. At any rate, Daniel would bulk very large in the eyes of the poor Jewish captives. Though contemporary, he was so far removed from his fellow-countrymen in social position, that his goodness and greatness would be subject to similar exaggeration to that which happens to heroes of a long-past age. A better argument may be drawn from the fact that sagan is always a civil title. The insertion of the word hakmeen might easily be due to some scribe who thought that as Daniel was one of the wise men, head of them would be more likely than head of the civil governors of the province, and placed it as a suggestion of what ought to take the place of signeen; a copyist following, inserted it in the text. If we compare this chapter with the sixth, we find Daniel one of three who were to receive the accounts of the various governors. Daniel was thus, if we may apply to his office a title drawn from our own political usage, secretary of state for Babylonia. It is characteristic of Daniel, that having been made rich and great by the king, and having received many gifts at the hand of the king, does not satisfy him; he entreats favour for his friends also. Hitzig's objection that Daniel would have the appointment of his subordinates, would only be valid if Daniel had been made satrap If his shaletship extended merely to some one department of governmental work - and that seems to follow from the last clause of this verse - it is unlikely that he would have this power. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are set over the "business" ('el,eedt,') of the province of Babylon. This word, in Targumic Aramaic, is very generally used of constructions where labour is employed. We may regard their position as one something like being members of a labour bureau. Nebuchadezzar was a very great builder, so much so that almost all the bricks that have been got in Babylon are stamped with his name. While his Ninevite predecessors record in their inscriptions their campaigns, the kings they conquered, and the cities they sacked, the inscriptions of Nebuchadnezzar are almost entirely occupied with the various structures - temples, palaces, ramparts, and canals - which he had caused to be made. These buildings would need perpetual surveying. Further, as a great military genius, roads and canals would also be. important objects, in the carrying out of which captives would be employed. And the products of this enforced labour would have to be surveyed carefully. This seems more probable than that Daniel got these three friends appointed to do the work he himself was appointed to. The only plausible suggestion against this would be that Daniel desired that his friends be set jointly over the province of Babylon instead of himself, and, for his own part, he preferred to remain in the gate of the king. We know that those who wished to undermine a favourite in an Eastern court, frequently intrigued to get him promoted to a governorship, and then poisoned the mind of the king against him. On the other hand. the fact that Daniel had his province in Babylon, and would always be near the king when he was in his capital, rendered the implied precaution needless. But Daniel sat in the gate of the king. The gate of the king was the gate of his palace or the entrance to the central court from which all the apartments branched off. In the gate the kings of the East acted as judges over their people; in the gate the king held councils. Hence to sit in the gate of the king conveyed the twofold idea of being the king's representative on the throne of judgment, and of being the counsellor of the king - member of the privy council, to employ a modern term.

Daniel 2:48

After Nebuchadnezzar had given honour to the God of the Jews, he rewarded Daniel, the servant of this God, with gifts, and by elevating him to high offices of state. רבּי, to make great, is more fully defined by the following passages. השׁלטהּ, he made him a man of power, ruler over the province of Babylon, i.e., vicegerent, governor of this province. According to Daniel 3:2, the Chaldean kingdom consisted of several מדינתא, each of which had its own שׁלטון. The following סגנין ורב depends zeugmatically, however, on השׁלטהּ: and (made him) president over all the wise men. סגנין, Hebr. סגנים, vicegerent, prefect, is an Aryan word incorporated into the Hebrew, ζωγάνης in Athen., but not yet certainly authenticated in Old Persian; vide (Spiegel in Delitzsch on Isaiah 41:25. The wise men of Babylon were divided into classes according to their principal functions, under סגנין, chiefs, whose president ( equals רב־מג, Jeremiah 39:3) Daniel was.
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