The king answered and said, I know of certainty that you would gain the time, because you see the thing is gone from me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Gain time.—They hoped that by continual postponement they would induce the king to let the matter pass over; or, if not, that they might be able to wheedle the dream out of him,Daniel 2:7 to state the dream was only a pretext for delay, in the hope that in the interval some device might be hit on by them to appease him, or to avert his threatened indignation. It would be natural to suppose that they might hope that on reflection he would become more calm, and that, although they "might" not be able to recal the dream and explain it, yet it would be seen to be unreasonable to expect or demand it. The king seems to have supposed that some such thoughts were passing through their minds, and he charges on them such a project. The argument of the king seems to have been something like this: "They who can explain a dream correctly can as well tell what it is as what its interpretation is, for the one is as much the result of Divine influence as the other; and if men can hope for Divine help in the one case, why not in the other? As you cannot, therefore, recal the dream, it is plain that you cannot interpret it; and your only object in demanding to know it is, that you may ward off as long as possible the execution of the threatened sentence, and, if practicable, escape it altogether." It is not improbable that what they said was more than the simple request recorded in Daniel 2:7. They would naturally enlarge on it, by attempting to show how unreasonable was the demand of the king in the case, and their arguments would give a fair pretext for what he here charges on them.
Because ye see the thing is gone from me - According to the interpretation proposed in Daniel 2:5, the "dream." The meaning is, "You see that I have forgotten it. I have made a positive statement on that point. There can be no hope, therefore, that it can be recalled, and it is clear that your only object must be to gain time. Nothing can be gained by delay, and the matter may therefore be determined at once, and your conduct be construed as a confession that you cannot perform what is required, and the sentence proceed without delay." This makes better sense, it seems to me, than to suppose that he means that a sentence had gone forth from him that if they could not recal and interpret it they should be put to death.
the thing is gone from me—(See on Da 2:5).
ye would gain the time: or buy (f), or redeem time, as in Ephesians 5:16, prolong time, put off the answer to longer time; spin out time, as people do in buying and selling; or have it in their possession and power when to answer; and so by gaining time, or being master of it, might hope something would turn up to their advantage, and extricate them out of their present difficulties:
because ye see the thing is gone from me; the dream he could not remember; or because the decree was certain which he had determined concerning them; See Gill on Daniel 2:5.The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. of certainty] We should say now, ‘of a certainty.’ Murray quotes from North’s Plutarch (1580), ‘It is of certainty that her proper name was Nicostrata.’
would gain time (R.V.)] lit. are buying the time. Their repeated request to the king to tell them his dream is proof to him that they have no power to reveal secrets, and that they could not therefore interpret his dream, even though he were to describe it to them: hence he charges them with buying the time, i.e. with endeavouring to defer the fatal moment when the truth must appear, and when their inability to interpret his dream must be exposed.
because ye see that the word spoken by me is sure, (9) That, if, &c.] Because you see that I am resolved to punish you, if you do not fulfil the conditions I lay down (Daniel 2:5).Verse 8. - The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. The versions here do not differ in any essential point. The king now becomes certain of the treasonable purpose of the soothsayers. The word zeban means not so much "gain" as "purchase," "barter." To the king the meaning of their obstinate refusal to submit to his requirements is that they know that some great advantage may be gained by the king, or some great disaster forefended, if he only knows the meaning of this dream, and that if the king does not submit to them and yield up his decree, and, putting his pride under his feet, tell them the dream, the time when its revelation may be taken advantage of may be passed. In these matters everything was supposed to depend on the thing to be done being done precisely at the right conjunction of the planets. His last utterance seems almost to rise to agony, "Because ye see the thing is fixed away from me!" We have the same word (azda) translated here, as in the fifth verse, "gone." As we saw above, its real meaning is rather "fixed," "settled," "determined." His decree had gone out, and he would not - nay, so strongly had he willed at that it was as it' he could not - alter his decision. It has been regarded as bearing on this passage that St. Paul (Ephesians 5:16) uses the same word as that by which the Greek versions translate zeban, "redeeming the time, because the days are evil." The meaning of the apostle is to some extent in contrast to that here. Believers are, as it were, to purchase the time from the evil days. Nebuchadnezzar thought the astrologers were, as it were, meaning by their delays to buy the auspicious moment for the kingdom from under his feet. It is a mistaken idea that he thought they merely wished to gain time. It would I seem, from what we read further of his treatment of Daniel's request lot time, that, had they merely asked for time, Nebuchadnezzar would have granted their request. He had staked his faith in their ability to unfold any mystery on this one test, and they seemed to him obstinately to refuse to submit to it. To believe them unable to reveal the truth that he wished, would be to overturn all the fabric of his faith in the religion of his fathers; therefore, with all the strength of a strong man. and all the blind faith of a fanatic, he will not acknowledge the inability of the soothsayers to tell him his dream; it must be obstinacy, he thinks, that prevents the soothsayers telling him, and that obstinacy must have a sinister purpose. There is a clause in the Septuagint completing this verse, but it is not parallel with any clause in the Massoretic text: "Then just as I have ordered, thus shall it be." This probably is an alternative rendering. Azda is taken in what is now regarded as its meaning - "that which is fixed," or "decreed," in which case this final clause might be rendered, "What is fixed from me is a decree;" and of this the above-mentioned clause is a somewhat free rendering. This interpretation of the clause confirms our view of the situation. 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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