Daniel 2:7
They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation of it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Let the king tell.—The request was reasonable enough, according to the principles of Babylonian sorcery. Nebuchadnezzar’s doubts, however, were awakened, and he was not sure of the veracity of his magicians. He speaks with great common sense (Daniel 2:9), “If you can tell me the dream, I shall be sure that your interpretation is correct.”

Daniel 2:7-8. They answered, Let the king tell his servants the dream — But this the king could not do; and yet, unless he could do it, they could not proceed one step toward the gratifying of his desires. The king said, I know of a certainty that ye would gain time — “You only want to protract the time, either that the dream may return, or that my uneasiness may be dissipated, and that, occupied in other affairs, I may think no more of the dream. But I will have from you immediately a positive answer, and a precise explication.” However tyrannical this may appear in the king, his reasoning must be allowed to be very just and right: for if the astrologers could obtain from their gods the knowledge of future events by the explication of a dream, certainly the same gods could have made known to them what the dream was. The original expression means, to buy, or redeem, time, and may be properly applied to men’s using their utmost endeavours to free themselves out of some imminent danger, or difficulty, gaining time being of considerable advantage to that purpose.2:1-13 The greatest men are most open to cares and troubles of mind, which disturb their repose in the night, while the sleep of the labouring man is sweet and sound. We know not the uneasiness of many who live in great pomp, and, as others vainly think, in pleasure also. The king said that his learned men must tell him the dream itself, or they should all be put to death as deceivers. Men are more eager to ask as to future events, than to learn the way of salvation or the path of duty; yet foreknowledge of future events increases anxiety and trouble. Those who deceived, by pretending to do what they could not do, were sentenced to death, for not being able to do what they did not pretend to.They answered again, and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation of it - Certainly not an unreasonable request, in any circumstances, and especially in theirs. They did not profess, evidently, to be able to recal a dream that was forgotten, but the extent of their profession on this subject appears to have been, that they were able to "explain" what was commonly regarded as a prognostic of a future event. 6. rewards—literally, "presents poured out in lavish profusion." But this the king could not do; they could not tell the dream, and the king could not, yet both require impossibilities. They answered again, and said,.... Or, a "second" (e) time; repeating the same words, having nothing more to say:

let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation thereof; the first part was but right and reasonable, though the latter was mere boasting and arrogancy.

(e) Sept.; "secundo", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Ar.

They answered again and said, Let the king tell {h} his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it.

(h) In this appears their ignorance, that despite their braggings, yet they were not able to tell the dream, unless he told them of it. And if he did tell them, they would pretend knowledge where there was but mere ignorance, and so as deluders of the people they were worthy to die.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. again] the second time (R.V.).

7–12. The wise men profess their willingness to interpret the king’s dream: but protest that his demand that they should tell him what his dream was is an extravagant one. Nebuchadnezzar, however, adheres to his original demand: and as they are unable to comply with it, commands them to be put to death.Verse 7. - They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation of it. The Septuagint Version here is, "And they answered the second time, saying, O king, tell the dream, and thy servants will judge of these things." Theodotion, the Peshitta, and the Vulgate agree with the Massoretic. The wise men are unable to satisfy the king's demands. Ewald comments on the fact that none of them had the inventiveness to make up a dream, and tell the king that had been his dream. He admits himself that there might have been risk of the king discovering the deception, if no flash of reviving memory in his mind answered to their invention. On our hypothesis that the king had not forgotten his dream, but was testing their powers, it was not only in the highest degree hazardous, but it was certain of failure. They must have known the case to be as we imagine it, or, when they were sentenced to death, they would have run the hazard, on the plea, "If we perish, we perish." There was a chance, though a faint one, of success in the attempt to palm off upon the king their own imaginings for his dream; there was a certainty of death if they did nothing. All they can do, however, is simply to repeat what they before said, "Tell us the dream, and we will find the interpretation of it." Nebuchadnezzar has often been denounced as specially foolish and tyrannical on account of this demand which he made of the wise men; but tyrannical though he was, and foolish though he seems at times, looked at from our elevation, this demand of his is not an example either of his folly or his tyranny. These soothsayers enjoyed great honour and great revenues, on the assumption that they possessed certain powers of foreseeing the future. He demands of them, instead of an enigmatical statement of what was coming on the earth, that they tell him what he had dreamed. They professed to be able to discover thefts, and where stolen property was; they professed to point out men who were devising evil against another. If their claims were true, they could surely tell the king his dream. They were thus employed and honoured in order that they should foretell to the king any fortune, good or bad, impending himself or the natron. His dream presumably foretold the future; they affirmed that they knew the future; they surely might tell the king what prophecy was made to him in his dream. Believing in the reality of their powers with all the faith of a fanatic, their refusal could only mean to him treason. They did not tell him his dream, not because they could not, but because they would not, in order that the disaster - for such he would be sure the dream portended - might not be averted by timely sacrifices. If the elaborate treatises on magic and divination which have come to us, so far as has been discovered, only in fragments, were complete, it is not impossible that we might be able to tell what interpretation these wise men would have put on the dream, had they been told it. It would be a curious exercise, for certainly Daniel's interpretation would not be the result. We must return to the versions for a little, in one respect the Septuagint is closer to the Massoretic than Theodotion, by having λέγοντες, the participle, instead of εϊπαν. We direct attention to this, with a view to the phenomenon we find in the succeeding clause. The Septuagint rendering is given above. The most noticeable thing which the reader will find about this rendering is the change of person in the last clause. As it stands in the Massoretic text, it is certainly the first person plural Imperfect pael of חוה; but in Syriac the preformative נ was the sign of the third person in the imperfect, as well as of the first person plural; hence, if there were a little uncertainty as to the end of the word, it was an easy mistake to one who was reading from a manuscript in Eastern Aramaic, but an impossible one for a scribe translating from a manuscript written in Chaldee, or Western Aramaic. It cannot be urged plausibly that the change might simply result from a free translation, for the slavish accuracy of the rest of the verse precludes that escape. As the reading of the Greek is confirmed by the version of Paulus Tel-lensis, the probability is slight of a various reading. This is another evidence that Daniel was originally written in Eastern, not Western Aramaic. It may be observed that while in the Massoretic text the verb "tell" (y'emar) is put in the imperfect, in the Septuagint it is translated as it' it were. imperative. The difference between the third person imperfect and the second person imperative is the presence, in the case of the former, of the preformative y (י), which is absent in the other. That is a thing that might easily happen, that, (yodh) might be dropped or inserted mistakenly; consequently, this affords no evidence that the Septuagint translator took liberties with his text. The question may be put, how tar these soothsayers knew they were impostors. Most likely they were unconscious of anything approaching imposition. We know the elaborate rules by which they determined the exact meaning of every sign and portent. We know how prone men are to supplement such rules by a native faculty for foreseeing what is likely to happen, and how, further, explanations may be devised to save the credit of these canons of interpretation, even when most hopelessly proved to be false by events. Archdeacon Rose appeals to modern spiritualists as examples in point, regarding both the Chaldean soothsayers and modern spiritualists as equally impostors. We feel inclined to regard them as so far alike in this - that most of both classes imposed most on themselves. The presence of these false prophets is an evidence of the existence of the true prophets at some time, at all events; there would be no counterfeit coin were there no genuine money. The Heave-offerings of the People. - Ezekiel 45:13. This is the heave-offering which ye shall heave: The sixth part of the ephah from the homer of wheat, and ye shall give the sixth part of the ephah from the homer of barley; Ezekiel 45:14. And the proper measure of oil, from the bath of oil a tenth of the bath from the cor, which contains ten baths or a homer; for ten baths are a homer; Ezekiel 45:15. And one head from the flock from two hundred from the watered land of Israel, for the meat-offering, and for the burnt-offering, and for the peace-offerings, to make atonement for them, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Ezekiel 45:16. All the people of the land shall be held to this heave-offering for the prince in Israel. Ezekiel 45:17. And upon the prince shall devolve the burnt-offerings, and the meat-offering, and the drink-offering at the feasts, the new moons, and the Sabbaths, at all the festivals of the house of Israel; he shall provide the sin-offering, and the meat-offering, and the burnt-offering, and the peace-offerings, to make atonement for the house of Israel. - The introductory precepts to employ just measures and weights are now followed by the regulations concerning the productions of nature to be paid by the Israelites to the prince for the sacrificial worship, the provision for which was to devolve on him. Fixed contributions are to be levied for this purpose, of wheat, barley, oil, and animals of the flock - namely, according to Ezekiel 45:13-15, of corn the sixtieth part, of oil the hundredth part, and of the flock the two hundredth head. There is no express mention made of wine for the drink-offering, or of cattle, which were also requisite for the burnt-offering and peace-offering, in addition to animals from the flock. The enumeration therefore is not complete, but simply contains the rule according to which they were to act in levying what was required for the sacrifices. The word שׁשּׁיתם in Ezekiel 45:13 must not be altered, as Hitzig proposes; for although this is the only passage in which שׁשּׁה occurs, it is analogous to חמּשׁ in Genesis 41:34, both in its formation and its meaning, "to raise the sixth part." A sixth of an ephah is the sixtieth part of a homer. חק, that which is fixed or established, i.e., the proper quantity. הבּת השּׁמן is in apposition to השּׁמן (for the article, see the comm. on Ezekiel 43:21), the fixed quantity of oil, namely of the bath of oil-i.e., the measure of that which is to be contributed from the oil, and that from the bath of oil-shall be the tenth part of the bath from the cor, i.e., the hundredth part of the year's crop, as the cor contained ten baths. The cor is not mentioned in the preceding words (Ezekiel 45:11), nor does it occur in the Mosaic law. It is another name for the homer, which is met with for the first time in the writings of the captivity (1 Kings 5:2, 25; 2 Chronicles 2:9; 2 Chronicles 27:5). For this reason its capacity is explained by the words which are appended to מכּור: 'עשׂרת הבּתּים וגו, from the cor (namely) of ten baths, one homer; and the latter definition is still further explained by the clause, "for ten baths are one homer." - Ezekiel 45:15. ממּשׁקה, from the watered soil (cf. Genesis 13:10), that is to say, not a lean beast, but a fat one, which has been fed upon good pasture. לכפּר עליהם indicates the general purpose of the sacrifices (vid., Leviticus 1:4). - Ezekiel 45:16. The article in העם, as in הבּת ni sa ,העם ni in Ezekiel 45:14. היה אל, to be, i.e., to belong, to anything - in other words, to be held to it, under obligation to do it; היה על (Ezekiel 45:17), on the other hand, to be upon a person, i.e., to devolve upon him. In בּכל־מועדי the feast and days of festival, which have been previously mentioned separately, are all grouped together. 'עשׂה את החטּאת וגו' .rehtegot, to furnish the sin-offering, etc., i.e., to supply the materials for them.

So far as the fact is concerned, the Mosaic law makes no mention of any contributions to the sanctuary, with the exception of the first-born, the first-fruits and the tithes, which could be redeemed with money, however. Besides these, it was only on extraordinary occasions - e.g., the building of the tabernacle - that the people were called upon for freewill heave-offerings. But the Mosaic law contains no regulation as to the sources from which the priests were to meet the demands for the festal sacrifices. So far, the instructions in the verses before us are new. What had formerly been given for this object as a gift of spontaneous love, is to become in the future a regular and established duty, to guard against that arbitrary and fitful feeling from which the worship of God might suffer injury. - To these instructions there are appended, from Ezekiel 45:18 onwards, the regulations concerning the sacrifices to be offered at the different festivals.

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