Daniel 3:2
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellers, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) Senti.e., sent heralds, as appears from Daniel 3:4. (On the Babylonian officers, see Exc. A.)

Daniel 3:2-3. Then Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather together the princes, &c. — It would be very difficult, and perhaps impossible, at this distance of time, to ascertain the proper titles and offices of the several characters that are here mentioned, and certainly would answer no valuable end to any reader. It may be sufficient to observe, that it is probable only those were summoned to attend on this occasion who held places under the government. Thousands of others, no doubt, would be present, and, when present, were required to comply with the king’s injunction respecting worshipping the image, though they had not been summoned. And they came and stood before the image — They made their personal appearance, and showed themselves ready to perform the worship required of them.

3:1-7 In the height of the image, about thirty yards, probably is included a pedestal, and most likely it was only covered with plates of gold, not a solid mass of that precious metal. Pride and bigotry cause men to require their subjects to follow their religion, whether right or wrong, and when worldly interest allures, and punishment overawes, few refuse. This is easy to the careless, the sensual, and the infidel, who are the greatest number; and most will go their ways. There is nothing so bad which the careless world will not be drawn to by a concert of music, or driven to by a fiery furnace. By such methods, false worship has been set up and maintained.Then, Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes - It is difficult now, if not impossible, to determine the exact meaning of the words used here with reference to the various officers designated; and it is not material that it should be done. The general sense is, that he assembled the great officers of the realm to do honor to the image. The object was doubtless to make the occasion as magnificent as possible. Of course, if these high officers were assembled, an immense multitude of the people would congregate also. That this was contemplated, and that it in fact occurred, is apparent from Daniel 3:4, Daniel 3:7. The word rendered "princes" (אחשׁדרפניא 'ăchashedarepenayâ') occurs only in Daniel, in Ezra, and in Esther. In Daniel 3:2-3, Daniel 3:27; Daniel 6:1-4, Daniel 6:6-7, it is uniformly rendered "princes;" in Ezra 8:36; Esther 3:12; Esther 8:9; Esther 9:3, it is uniformly rendered "lieutenants." The word means, according to Gesenius (Lex.), "satraps, the governors or viceroys of the large provinces among the ancient Persians, possessing both civil and military power, and being in the provinces the representatives of the sovereign, whose state and splendor they also rivaled." The etymology of the word is not certainly known. The Persian word "satrap" seems to have been the foundation of this word, with some slight modifications adapting it to the Chaldee mode of pronunciation.

The governors - סגניא sı̂genayâ'. This word is rendered "governors" in Daniel 2:48 (see the note at that place), and in Daniel 3:3, Daniel 3:27; Daniel 6:7. It does not elsewhere occur. The Hebrew word corresponding to this - סגנים segânı̂ym - occurs frequently, and is rendered "rulers" in every place except Isaiah 41:25, where it is rendered "princes:" Ezra 9:2; Nehemiah 2:16; Nehemiah 4:14 (7); Nehemiah 5:7, Nehemiah 5:17; Nehemiah 7:5; Jeremiah 51:23, Jeremiah 51:28, Jeremiah 51:57; Ezekiel 23:6, Ezekiel 23:12, Ezekiel 23:23, et al. The office was evidently one that was inferior to that of the "satrap," or governor of a whole province.

And the captains - פחותא pachăvâtâ'. This word, wherever it occurs in Daniel, is rendered "captains," Daniel 3:2-3, Daniel 3:27; Daniel 6:7; wherever else it occurs it is rendered governor, Ezra 5:3, Ezra 5:6, Ezra 5:14; Ezra 6:6-7, Ezra 6:13. The Hebrew word corresponding to this (פחה pechâh) occurs frequently, and is also rendered indifferently, "governor" or "captain:" 1 Kings 10:15; 2 Chronicles 9:14; Ezra 8:36; 1 Kings 20:24; Jeremiah 51:23, Jeremiah 51:28, Jeremiah 51:57, et al. It refers to the governor of a province less than satrapy, and is applied to officers in the Assyrian empire, 2 Kings 18:24; Isaiah 36:9; in the Chaldean, Ezekiel 23:6, Ezekiel 23:23; Jeremiah 51:23; and in the Persian, Esther 8:9; Esther 9:3. The word "captains" does not now very accurately express the sense. The office was not exclusively military, and was of a higher grade than would be denoted by the word "captain," with us.

The judges - אדרגזריא 'ădaregâzerayâ'. This word occurs only here, and in Daniel 3:3. It means properly great or "chief judges" - compounded of two words signifying "greatness," and "judges." See Gesenius, (Lex.)

The treasurers - גדבריא gedâberayâ'. This word occurs nowhere else. The word גזבר gizbâr, however, the same word with a slight change in the pronunciation, occurs in Ezra 1:8; Ezra 7:21, and denotes "treasurer." It is derived from a word (גנז gânaz) which means to hide, to hoard, to lay up in store.

The counselors - דתבריא dethâberayâ'. This word occurs nowhere else, except in Daniel 3:3. It means one skilled in the law; a judge. The office was evidently inferior to the one denoted by the word "judges."

The sheriffs - A sheriff with us is a county officer, to whom is entrusted the administration of the laws. In England the office is judicial as well as ministerial. With us it is merely ministerial. The duty of the sheriff is to execute the civil and criminal processes throughout the county. He has charge of the jail and prisoners, and attends courts, and keeps the peace. It is not to be supposed that the officer here referred to in Daniel corresponds precisely with this. The word used (תפתיא tı̂ptâyē') occurs nowhere else. It means, according to Gesenius, persons learned in the law; lawyers. The office had a close relation to that of "Mufti" among the Arabs, the term being derived from the same word, and properly means "a wise man; one whose response is equivalent to law."

And all the rulers of the provinces - The term here used is a general term, and would apply to any kind of officers or rulers, and is probably designed to embrace all which had not been specified. The object was to assemble the chief officers of the realm. Jacchiades has compared the officers here enumerated with the principal officers of the Turkish empire, and supposes that a counterpart to them may be found in that empire. See the comparison in Grotius, in loc. He supposes that the officers last denoted under the title of "rulers of the provinces" were similar to the Turkish "Zangiahos" or "viziers." Grotius supposes that the term refers to the rulers of cities and places adjacent to cities - a dominion of less extent and importance than that of the rulers of provinces.

To come to the dedication of the image ... - The public setting it apart to the purposes for which it was erected. This was to be done with solemn music, and in the presence of the principal officers of the kingdom. Until it was dedicated to the god in whose honor it was erected, it would not be regarded as an object of worship. It is easy to conceive that such an occasion would bring together an immense concourse of people, and that it would be one of peculiar magnificence.

2. princes—"satraps" of provinces [Gesenius].

captains—rulers, not exclusively military.

sheriffs—men learned in the law, like the Arab mufti [Gesenius].

This great statue, whether Nebuchadnezzar’s own, or Bel, or any other of his gods, see Daniel 3:14, must be solemnly dedicated, and therefore all the peers of the realm are called to it; but whether these ranks of men and officers are truly rendered from the Chaldee words is hard to determine, and not worth disputing; etymologists differ in it: this only is material, that the heads of all that vast empire were summoned, of several nations and languages, to testify their conformity to the emperor’s will, and thereby give assurance of obliging the people under them to the same obedience, i.e. to the same idolatrous worship.

It was the manner of the heathen to consecrate their idol before they worshipped it, and herein, as in many other, Satan imitated the Jews, and their temple dedication, John 10:22: they held a feast. The popish church do the like, when they dedicate material temples to particular saints, with solemnity and jollity, from whence come the feasts of wakes and revels to this day.

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes,.... He sent letters, or dispatched messengers, into the several provinces of his empire, and parts of his dominions, to convene all the peers of his realm, and governors of provinces, and all officers, civil, military, and religious, expressed by various names and titles:

the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces; who are particularly and distinctly designed is not easy to say. Jacchiades thinks they answer to the same offices and officers which now obtain in the Turkish empire; princes are the "bashaws"; governors the "beglerbegs"; captains the "agas" of the janizaries; judges the "kadies"; treasurers the "dephterdaries"; the counsellors the "alphakies"; and "zayties the sheriffs"; their chief doctors their "muphties", as L'Empereur; and the rulers of the provinces the "zangiakies" or "viziers"; but, be they who they will, they were the principal men of the empire, both in things civil, military, and ecclesiastic, who were ordered

to come to the dedication of the image, which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; for though it was made and set up, it was not a proper object of worship till dedicated; and which was done by burning incense, blowing trumpets, &c. now these great men were gathered together on this occasion, because of the greater honour done hereby to the king and his image; and also by their example to engage the populace the more easily to the worship of it; and likewise as being the representatives of them since they could not all be collected together in one place; and it may be it was done, as some think, to ensnare Daniel and his companions. Philostratus (f) makes mention of an officer at Babylon that had the keeping of the great gate into the city; which some take to be the same with the first sort here mentioned; who first offered the golden statue of the king to be worshipped before he would permit any to enter into the city, which perhaps might take its rise from the worship of this golden image.

(f) De Vita Apollonii, l. 1. c. 19.

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the {b} dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the {c} king had set up.

(b) Showing that the idol is not known for an idol as long as he is with workmen: but when the ceremonies and customs are recited and used, and the consent of the people is there, then they think they have made a god out of a block.

(c) This was sufficient with the wicked at all times to approve their religion, if the king's authority were alleged for the establishment of it, not considering in the meantime what God's word allowed.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. princes] satraps, Aram. ’achashdarpan,—both this and the Gk. ἐξατράπης, σατράπης, being corruptions of the Old Persian kshatra-pâwan, lit. ‘protector of the realm,’ but denoting by usage (cf. on Daniel 6:1) the chief ruler of a province. The term, as is well known, is a standing Persian one: in the O.T., it recurs Daniel 3:3; Daniel 3:27, Daniel 6:1-4; Daniel 6:6-7 (A.V. princes); and Ezra 8:36, Esther 3:12; Esther 8:9; Esther 9:3 (A.V. lieutenants); R.V. always satraps. The use of the word here is an anachronism: both the name and the office were Persian, not Babylonian.

governors] praefects. The word (segan) explained on Daniel 2:48.

captains] governors (R.V.), Aram. pechah, a term also (like segan) of Assyrian origin, often used in Assyrian of the governor of a conquered province. It found its way into Hebrew, and is used in the O.T. both of an Assyrian officer (Isaiah 36:9 = 2 Kings 18:24 : A.V., R.V. captain), of Babylonian officers (Jeremiah 51:57; Ezekiel 23:6; Ezekiel 23:12; Ezekiel 23:23 : A.V. captains, R.V. governors), and especially, in post-exilic writings, of the governor of a Persian province (Haggai 1:1; Haggai 2:2; Malachi 1:8; Ezra 5:3; Ezra 5:6; Nehemiah 2:7; Nehemiah 2:9, and elsewhere); as well as once or twice more generally (1 Kings 20:24; Jeremiah 51:23; Jeremiah 51:28). In Dan. it recurs Daniel 3:3; Daniel 3:27, Daniel 6:7.

judges] So Daniel 3:3. Aram. ’adargâzar, in all probability the old Pers. andar-zaghar, later Pers. endarzgar, ‘counsel-giver,’ a title which was still in use under the Sassanian kings (Nöldeke, Tabari, p. 462). R.V. marg. ‘chief soothsayers’ implies a very improbable etymology.

treasurers] So Daniel 3:3 : Aram. gedâbar. An uncertain word. It may be a textual corruption, or a faulty pronunciation, of gizbâr, ‘treasurer’ (Pehlevi ganzavar, Pers. ganjvar), which is found in Ezra 1:8; Ezra 7:21; it may have arisen by dittography from the following dethâbar[217]; it may be an error for haddâbar (in the plur., גדבריא for הדבריא), the word which occurs in Daniel 3:24; Daniel 3:27, Daniel 4:36, Daniel 6:7 (see on Daniel 3:24).

[217] It is some support to this view that whereas the Aramaic text has in both Daniel 3:2 and Daniel 3:3 eight names of officials, the Sept. and Theod. have each only seven: see Lagarde’s lucid exposition of the facts in Agathangelus, p. 157.

counsellers] justices (so Daniel 3:3): Aram. dethâbar, from the Old Pers. dâtabara, Pehlevi dâtôbar, Modern Pers. dâwar, properly ‘law-bearer,’ from dât, ‘law,’ and bar, an affix meaning ‘bearer.’ Cf. the βασιλήϊοι δικασταὶ of Hdt. iii. 14, 31, Daniel 3:25, vii. 194. This word has been found by Hilprecht (frequently) in the commercial inscriptions belonging to the reigns of Artaxerxes I. and Darius II. (b.c. 465–425, 424–405), excavated recently at Nippur by the expedition organized by the American University of Pennsylvania.

sheriffs] Aram. tiphtâyê; only found besides in Daniel 3:3, and of very uncertain meaning. Bevan thinks it may be the mutilated form of some Persian title ending in pat, ‘chief’; and so Behrmann compares the Sanskr. adhipati, which would correspond to an Old Pers. adipati, ‘over-chief’: while Andreas[218] proposes to read דנ for ת, i.e. denpetâyê, ‘chiefs of religion,’ i.e. priestly dignitaries. Lawyers (R.V. marg.) depends upon an improbable connexion with the Arab. ’aftâ, to notify a decision of the law (whence Mufti, a jurisconsult).

[218] In the glossary in Marti’s Gramm. der Bibl.-Aram. Sprache, p. 89.

and all the rulers of the provinces] conceived apparently as subordinate to the ‘satraps,’ and so as forming the class in which Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were included (Daniel 2:49). It has often been asked, where was Daniel? Possibly he is to be regarded as not included in the classes of officials enumerated, on account of his exceptional position at the court (Daniel 2:49): but in point of fact the narrative seems to be written without reference to Daniel; so that more probably the question is one which the author did not deem it necessary to answer.

Verses 2, 3. #NAME? The Septuagint is greatly interpolated, "And Nebuchadnezzar, king of kings and ruler (κυριεύων) of the whole inhabited earth (τῆς οἰκουμένης ὅλης), sent to gather together all nations, peoples, and tongues, governors and generals, rulers and overseers, executors and those in authority, according to their provinces, and all in the whole inhabited earth, to come to the dedication of the golden image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up" The word denoting the "inhabited world" is one used first of the Greek world (Funeral Oration of Demosthenes, Τῆς οἰκομενῆς τὸ πλεῖστον μέρος, then of the Roman world as distinct from the barbarian (Polybius, 1:4. 6, Τὸ τῆς ὅλης οἰκουμένης σχῆμα); in this latter sense it is used in Luke 2:1. The phrase, "nations. peoples, and tongues," is one that occurs with great frequency in Revelation, and also the above phrase, τῆς ὅλης οἰκουμένης. This is an indication of the use made by the Apostle John of this version of Daniel as distinct from the Massoretic text It may also be observed that the phrase, "all in the whole inhabited earth," is placed as equal to "all the rulers of the provinces," which makes it at least possible that a misreading of the original text has occasioned the exaggeration in this particular clause. In the third verse the order is different, and to some extent the names of the officials are different also; σατράπαι is left out, and τύραννοι appears in its stead, though not in the same place. Further, there are persons mentioned "great in authority." This variation may be due to an uncertainty in the mind of the translator as to the exact equivalent in Greek for the Aramaic terms. It is to be noted that "the inhabitants of the whole earth" disappear from this repetition. The last editor of the Greek text may have had two renderings before him, and drew from the one the second verse, and from the other the third. Theodotion's rendering, while in closer agreement with the Massoretic text, yet differs from it to some extent, appearing to make the latter half of ver. 2 explanatory of the former, which contains the more technical designations. In ver. 3 there is a change in the order of the terms, as to some extent a change in the terms. In the Peshitta there are evident traces that the translator had not understood the technical meaning of the terms here used. The list given is "great men of might - lords, rulers, Agardaei, Garabdaei, Tarabdaei, Tabathaei, and all the rulers of the province." These mysterious names, that seem those of tribes, have no existence elsewhere. It is singular that these words, if they are in their original shape - which they seem certainly, to be - and to appearance of Persian origin, were unintelligible to one writing on the Persian frontier at most three centuries after the critical date of Daniel. The Parthian Empire retained much of the Persian character. How was it that words of Persian meaning had disappeared there, and still remained in use, or at least still continued to be intelligible, in Palastine? The probability is that the names have undergone so great change in course of transcription that their original form can no longer be recognized. The Vulgate does not call for remark. The names of these different grades of officials are (as we now have them) some indubitably Persian, as ahashdarpan; others unmistakably Assyrian, sagan pehah; and there are some that have no recognized etymology, as tiphtaye: but there are none that are even plausibly derived from Greek. Yet this class of words is precisely the class where the influence of the language of the military governing nation would be manifest. The fact that while the Massoretic text has eight classes of rulers who are summoned, the Septuagint has only six, throws a suspicion on the whole list. The LXX., however, adds, "all those in the whole earth (πάντας τοὺς κατὰ τὴν οἰκουμένην)," which may be the result of misreading of kol shiltoni medeen-atha, or it may be a rendering of it, referring back to the classes already enumerated (ἄρχοντας being understood, omitting the ray). In Theodotion and Jerome there are seven classes. Only in the Peshitta are there the same number of classes as in the Massoretic. The Peshitta has as this first class rabai heela, used in the New Testament, e.g. Luke 22:4, of "chief captains." It is possible that rabuti, or some derivative from it, was in the original text here, and this was changed into the better known sotrap. Sagan does not call for remark; as said above (Daniel 2:48), it is derived from shakun (Assyrian); the Hebrew equivalent appears in Jeremiah 51:23 and Ezekiel 23:6, and elsewhere. Pebah is also Assyrian in origin, also elsewhere used in Scripture. Adargazrayya seems a compound from adar and gazar, "to divide." Furst would make this word mean" astrologers of the god Adar." Professor Bevan would derive it from endarz-gar, a Persian word meaning "counsellor" - "a word which was still in use under the Sassanians." That the word had any connection with this is disproved by the fact that in the Peshitta it is rendered Agardaei. If the word in question had survived from the Achaemenids to the Sassanids, its meaning would necessarily be known to the Peshitta translator, whose date held between the periods of these two Persian dynasties. A Persian word of the date of the Achsemenids to have survived to the age of the Sassanids, must have been known in the intervening Parthian period. A similar difficulty occurs in regard to the next word, gedabrayya - the Syrian translator has simply transferred it. The simplest interpretation is that it is a variation on gizbarayya (Ezra 7:21), and means "treasurers," which is still in use in the Syriac of the Peshitta, e.g. 2 Kings 10:22. The question is complicated by the fact that the word which occupies the same place in the similar list in ver. 27 is had-dabra When we turn to the Peshitta for that verse, there is another word, raur-bona. <[Vol13/Daniel/97]PGBR> The Septuagint, by rendering φίλοις, shows that their reading was habereen. All this proves how utterly futile it is to build anything on the presence of late words in Daniel. The presence of early words from the nature of the case, is more significant. Old and unintelligible words would never be inserted in place of new and intelligible, though the reverse process might readily take place: דְּתָבְּרַיּא (dethaberayya) is rendered usually "judges," and is generally derived from the Pehlevi; but if דַת (dath) means a "firman," a "command," or "decree," in Aramaic, then the addition bar in Persian is rendered less certain. Here, again, the Peshitta translator was unaware of the meaning of the word, and renders by the mysterious word tarabdaei. The last class mentioned is the Tiphtae. This term seems to be omitted in the three Western versions at least there are only six names of ranks of rulers given in these versions, and this is a seventh. Of course, it may be that some name earlier in the list is explanatory and added later than the time when these versions were made. The Peshitta has the word Tabathaei, which has all the appearance of a national name. The word Tiphtae assumes in the K'thib a Syriac form, which, as we before remarked, is an indication of the original dialect of the book. Notwithstanding what Professor Bevan has asserted, something may be said for the conjecture that it is connected with afta, "to advise." But in the extreme doubt in which we are in regard to what the text precisely is, it is something like waste of time to do more than chronicle opinions. This feeling of uncertainty is increased by the fact that, as above mentioned, the two lists in the two verses before us do not agree in the three Western versions. The list in ver. 27 purports to be the same as that given here, and differs from it greatly. All that we may assume is that there were assembled different classes of the officials of the Babylonian Empire. The reading should not be medeenatha, "of the provinces;" but medeenta "of the province;" the officials that were assembled were those merely of the province of Babylon. We would maintain this, although the versions are against it, because there would be no difference in the original unpointed text. Daniel 3:2Nebuchadnezzar commanded all the chief officers of the kingdom to be present at the solemn dedication of the image. שׁלח, he sent, viz., מלאכים or רצים messengers, 1 Samuel 11:7; 2 Chronicles 30:6, 2 Chronicles 30:10; Esther 3:15. Of the great officers of state, seven classes are named: - 1. אחשׁדּרפּניּא, i.e., administrators of the Khshatra, in Old Pers. dominion, province, and pâvan in Zend., guardians, watchers, in Greek Σατράπης, the chief representatives of the king in the provinces. 2. סגניּא, Hebr. סגנים, from the Old Pers. (although not proved) akana, to command (see under Daniel 2:48), commanders, probably the military chiefs of the provinces. 3. פּחותא, Hebr. פּחה, פחות, also an Old Pers. word, whose etymon and meaning have not yet been established (see under Haggai 1:1), denotes the presidents of the civil government, the guardians of the country; cf. Haggai 1:1, Haggai 1:14; Nehemiah 5:14, Nehemiah 5:18. 4. אדרגּזריּא, chief judges, from the Sem. גזר, to distinguish, and אדר, dignity (cf. אדרמּלך), properly, chief arbitrators, counsellors of the government. 5. גּדבריּא, a word of Aryan origin, from גּדבר, identical with גּזבּר, masters of the treasury, superintendents of the public treasury. 6. דּתבריּא, the Old Pers. dâta-bara, guardians of the law, lawyers (cf. דּת, law). 7. תּפתּיּא, Semitic, from Arab. fty IV to give a just sentence, thus judges in the narrower sense of the word. Finally, all שׁלטני, rulers, i.e., governors of provinces, prefects, who were subordinate to the chief governor, cf. Daniel 2:48-49.

All these officers were summoned "to come (מתא from אתא, with the rejection of the initial )א to the dedication of the image." The objection of v. Leng. and Hitz., that this call would "put a stop to the government of the country," only shows their ignorance of the departments of the state-government, and by no means makes the narrative doubtful. The affairs of the state did not lie so exclusively in the hands of the presidents of the different branches of the government, as that their temporary absence should cause a suspension of all the affairs of government. חנכּה is used of the dedication of a house (Deuteronomy 20:5) as well as of the temple (1 Kings 8:63; 2 Chronicles 7:5; Ezra 6:16), and here undoubtedly denotes an act connected with religious usages, by means of which the image, when the great officers of the kingdom fell down before it, was solemnly consecrated as the symbol of the world-power and (in the heathen sense) of its divine glory. This act is described (Daniel 3:3-7) in so far as the object contemplated rendered it necessary.

When all the great officers of state were assembled, a herald proclaimed that as soon as the sound of the music was heard, all who were present should, on pain of death by being cast into the fire, fall down before the image and offer homage to it; which they all did as soon as the signal was given. The form קאמין, Daniel 3:3, corresponds to the sing. קאם (Daniel 2:31) as it is written in Syr., but is read קימין. The Masoretes substitute for it in the Talm. The common form קימין; cf. Frst, Lehrgb. der aram. Idiom. p. 161, and Luzzatto, Elem. Gram. p. 33. The expression לקבל, Daniel 3:3, and Ezra 4:16, is founded on קבל, the semi-vowel of the preceding sound being absorbed, as in the Syr. l-kebel. On כּרוזא, herald, and on the form לכון, see under Daniel 2:5. אמרין, they say, for "it is said to you." The expression of the passive by means of a plural form of the active used impersonally, either participially or by 3rd pers. perf. plur., is found in Hebr., but is quite common in Chald.; cf. Ewald, Lehr. d. hebr. Spr. 128, b, and Winer, Chald. Gram. 49, 3. The proclamation of the herald refers not only to the officers who were summoned to the festival, but to all who were present, since besides the officers there was certainly present a great crowd of people from all parts of the kingdom, as M. Geier has rightly remarked, so that the assembly consisted of persons of various races and languages. אמּיּא denotes tribes of people, as the Hebr. אמּה, אמּות Genesis 25:16, denotes the several tribes of Ishmael, and Numbers 25:15 the separate tribes of the Midianites, and is thus not so extensive in its import as עמּין, peoples. לשּׁניּא, corresponding to הלּשׁות, Isaiah 66:18, designates (vide Genesis 10:5, Genesis 10:20, Genesis 10:31) communities of men of the same language, and is not a tautology, since the distinctions of nation and of language are in the course of history frequently found. The placing together of the three words denotes all nations, however they may have widely branched off into tribes with different languages, and expresses the sense that no one in the whole kingdom should be exempted from the command. It is a mode of expression (cf. Daniel 3:7, Daniel 3:29, 31[4:1], and Daniel 6:26[25]) specially characterizing the pathetic style of the herald and the official language of the world-kingdom, which Daniel also (Daniel 5:19; Daniel 7:14) makes use of, and which from the latter passage is transferred to the Apocalypse, and by the union of these passages in Daniel with Isaiah 66:18 is increased to ἔθνη (גּוים in Isa.), φυλλαι,́ λαοὶ καὶ γλῶσσαι (Revelation 5:9; Revelation 7:9; Revelation 13:7; Revelation 14:6; Revelation 17:15).

In the same passage זמנא בּהּ, Daniel 3:7 (cf. also Daniel 3:8), is interchanged with בּעדּנא, at the time (Daniel 3:5 and Daniel 3:15); but it is to be distinguished from בּהּ־שׁעתּא, at the same moment, Daniel 3:6 and Daniel 3:15; for שׁעא or שׁעה has in the Bib. Chald. only the meaning instant, moment, cf. Daniel 4:16, Daniel 4:30; Daniel 5:5, and acquires the signification short time, hour, first in the Targ. and Rabbin. In the enumeration also of the six names of the musical instruments with the addition: and all kinds of music, the pompous language of the world-ruler and of the herald of his power is well expressed. Regarding the Greek names of three of these instruments see p. 507. The great delight of the Babylonians in music and stringed instruments appears from Isaiah 14:11 and Psalm 137:3, and is confirmed by the testimony of Herod. i. 191, and Curtius, Daniel 3:3. קרנא, horn, is the far-sounding tuba of the ancients, the קרן or שׁופר of the Hebr.; see under Joshua 6:5. משׁרוקיתא, from שׁרק, to hiss, to whistle, is the reed-flute, translated by the lxx and Theodot. σύριγξ, the shepherd's or Pan's pipes, which consisted of several reeds of different thicknesses and of different lengths bound together, and, according to a Greek tradition (Pollux, iv. 9, 15), was invented by two Medes. קיתתס (according to the Kethiv; but the Keri and the Targ. and Rabbin. give the form קתרס) is the Greek κιθάρα or κίθαρις, harp, for the Greek ending ις becomes ος in the Aramaic, as in many similar cases; cf. Ges. Thes. p. 1215. סבּכא, corresponding to the Greek σαμβύκη, but a Syrian invention, is, according to Athen. iv. p. 175, a four-stringed instrument, having a sharp, clear tone; cf. Ges. Thes. p. 935. פּסנמּרין (in Daniel 3:7 written with a טinstead of תand in Daniel 3:10 and Daniel 3:15 pointed with a Tsere under the )ת is the Greek ψαλτήριον, of which the Greek ending ιον becomes abbreviated in the Aram. into ין (cf. Ges. Thes. p. 1116). The word has no etymology in the Semitic. It was an instrument like a harp, which according to Augustin (on Psalm 33:2 [Psalm 32:2] and Psalm 43:4 [Psalm 42:4) was distinguished from the cithara in this particular, that while the strings of the cithara passed over the sounding-board, those of the psalterium (or organon) were placed under it. Such harps are found on Egyptian (see Rosellini) and also on Assyrian monuments (cf. Layard, Ninev. and Bab., Table xiii. 4). סוּמפּניה, in Daniel 3:10 סיפניה, is not derived from ספן, contignare, but is the Aramaic form of συμφωνία, bag-pipes, which is called in Italy at the present day sampogna, and derives its Greek name from the accord of two pipes placed in the bag; cf. Ges. Thes. p. 941. זמרא signifies, not "song," but musical playing, from reemaz, to play the strings, ψάλλειν; and because the music of the instrument was accompanied with song, it means also the song accompanying the music. The explanation of זמרא by singing stands here in opposition to the זני כּל, since all sorts of songs could only be sung after one another, but the herald speaks of the simultaneous rise of the sound. The limiting of the word also to the playing on a stringed instrument does not fit the context, inasmuch as wind instruments are also named. Plainly in the words זמרא זני כּל all the other instruments not particularly named are comprehended, so that זמרא is to be understood generally of playing on musical instruments. בּהּ־שׁעתּא, in the same instant. The frequent pleonastic use in the later Aramaic of the union of the preposition with a suffix anticipating the following noun, whereby the preposition is frequently repeated before the noun, as e.g., בּדּניּאל בּהּ, Daniel 5:12, cf. Daniel 5:30, has in the Bibl. Chald. generally a certain emphasis, for the pronominal suffix is manifestly used demonstratively, in the sense even this, even that.

Homage was commanded to be shown to the image under the pain of death to those who refused. Since "the dominion of Nebuchadnezzar was founded not by right, but by the might of conquest" (Klief.), and the homage which he commanded to be shown to the image was regarded not only as a proof of subjection under the power of the king, but comprehended in it also the recognition of his gods as the gods of the kingdom, instances of refusal were to be expected. In the demand of the king there was certainly a kind of religious oppression, but by no means, as Bleek, v. Leng., and other critics maintain, a religious persecution, as among heathen rulers Antiochus Epiphanes practised it. For so tolerant was heathenism, that it recognised the gods of the different nations; but all heathen kings required that the nations subdued by them should also recognise the gods of their kingdom, which they held to be more powerful than were the gods of the vanquished nations. A refusal to yield homage to the gods of the kingdom they regarded as an act of hostility against the kingdom and its monarch, while every one might at the same time honour his own national god. This acknowledgement, that the gods of the kingdom were the more powerful, every heathen could grant; and thus Nebuchadnezzar demanded nothing in a religious point of view which every one of his subjects could not yield. To him, therefore, the refusal of the Jews could not but appear as opposition to the greatness of his kingdom. But the Jews, or Israelites, could not do homage to the gods of Nebuchadnezzar without rejecting their faith that Jehovah alone was God, and that besides Him there were no gods. Therefore Nebuchadnezzar practised towards them, without, from his polytheistic standpoint, designing it, an intolerable religious coercion, which, whoever, is fundamentally different from the persecution of Judaism by Antiochus Epiphanes, who forbade the Jews on pain of death to serve their God, and endeavoured utterly to destroy the Jewish religion. - Regarding the structure of the fiery furnace, see under Daniel 3:22.

Links
Daniel 3:2 Interlinear
Daniel 3:2 Parallel Texts


Daniel 3:2 NIV
Daniel 3:2 NLT
Daniel 3:2 ESV
Daniel 3:2 NASB
Daniel 3:2 KJV

Daniel 3:2 Bible Apps
Daniel 3:2 Parallel
Daniel 3:2 Biblia Paralela
Daniel 3:2 Chinese Bible
Daniel 3:2 French Bible
Daniel 3:2 German Bible

Bible Hub






Daniel 3:1
Top of Page
Top of Page