Why at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Wherefore.—i.e., because certain Jews were noticed to be absent at the time. It is natural to suppose that the promotion of three men of Jewish extraction would have been viewed with the greatest jealousy by the Babylonian officers, who, no doubt, had been carefully watching their opportunity of revenge. (Comp. Daniel 5:11.)
Chaldeans.—Not to be confused with the astrologers mentioned in Daniel 2:5, but Chaldean native subjects, contrasted with the Jewish colonists spoken of at the end of the verse.Daniel 3:8-12. At that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews — It is not improbable that these Chaldeans were such as envied these friends of Daniel their preferments, having perhaps themselves expected the places to which they had been advanced. They spake and said, O king, live for ever — They approached the king with a great show of loyalty, and concern for his life, honour, and interest. Thou, O king, hast made a decree, &c. — They put him in mind of the law he had lately made, that all manner of persons, without exception, should fall down and worship his golden image: they put him in mind also of the penalty which was to be inflicted upon recusants. There are certain Jews, &c. — It is likely that Nebuchadnezzar had no particular design to insnare Shadrach and his companions in making this law; for then he would himself have had his eye upon them, and would not have needed this information; but their enemies, who sought an occasion against them, laid hold on this, and were forward to accuse them. To aggravate the matter, and incense the king more against them, they, 1st, Put him in mind of the dignity to which the criminals had been preferred; that though they were Jews, foreigners, captives, and men of a despised nation and religion, yet the king had set them over the affairs of the province of Babylon — It was, therefore, they suggested, very ungrateful, and an insufferable piece of insolence in them, to disobey the king’s command, who had shared so much of the king’s favour. And, besides, the high station they were in would give their refusal the greater influence, and render it of the worse consequence. 2d, They suggest, that it was done maliciously, contumaciously, and in contempt of him and his authority. These men, say they, have not regarded thee, they serve not thy gods, &c. — Thus princes, who are wont to be incensed enough against innocent people, seldom want those about them who do all they can to excite them to greater wrath. If it be asked here, Where was Daniel on this occasion? It may be answered, He was probably absent, either because the king’s business called him elsewhere, or because he had leave of absence from the king; unless we suppose that he stood so high in the king’s favour that none durst complain of him for his non-compliance. But why did not his companions keep out of the way? Surely, because they would obey the king’s orders as far as they could conscientiously, and wished to be present to bear a public testimony against this gross idolatry. God also, no doubt, inclined them to attend, that they might glorify him by a noble confession, made in face of the most extreme danger; and that he might honour and reward them, by a most extraordinary and wonderful deliverance.Daniel 3:12. They were present on the occasion, being summoned with the other officers of the realm Daniel 3:2, but they could not unite in the idolatrous worship. It has been frequently said that the whole thing was arranged, either by the king of his own accord, or by the instigation of their enemies, with a view to involve the Jews in difficulty, knowing that they could not conscientiously comply with the command to worship the image. But nothing of this kind appears in the narrative itself, It does not appear that the Jews were unpopular, or that there was any less disposition to show favor to them than to any other foreigners. They had been raised indeed to high offices, but there is no evidence that any office was conferred on them which it was not regarded as proper to confer on foreigners; nor is there any evidence that in the discharge of the duties of the office they had given occasion for a just accusation. The plain account is, that the king set up the image for other purposes, and with no malicious design toward them; that when summoned to be present with the other officers of the realm at the dedication of the image they obeyed the command; but that when the order was issued that they should render "religious homage" to the idol, every principle of their religion revolted at it, and they refused. For the probable reasons why Daniel was not included in the number, see the note at Daniel 3:12.
and accused the Jews; particularly Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, as after mentioned, of not obeying the king's command, to worship the golden image: these Chaldeans at the time of adoration had their eyes upon the Jews, particularly those three men, to observe how they would behave; and as they stood up while the others fell down, they were easily observed; wherefore they immediately hasten to the king, to give this information against them; whose places of trust and honour they envied, and now hoped to be put into them in their place and if these were the Chaldeans, or some of them, whose lives these men had been the means of saving, as is probable, they acted a very ungrateful part. Should it be asked, how came these three men to be present? it may be answered, they came here in obedience to the king's orders, as his officers, who had summoned them to this place; which they judged their duty to do, though they determined not to worship his image, should he require it; or they came here on purpose to bear their testimony against such idolatry. No mention is made of Daniel; very probably he was not here; for what reasons cannot be said; however, no accusation is laid against him; perhaps he was too great to be meddled with, being high in the king's favour.Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. certain Chaldeans] probably, though not here necessarily, the learned class among the Babylonians (as Daniel 1:4, Daniel 2:2 &c.). See p. 12 ff.
accused] The figure in the original is a peculiar one, lit. ‘ate the (torn) pieces of the Jews.’ The expression has commonly in Aramaic the sense of falsely accuse, or slander, as Psalm 15:3 in the Targ., and in Syriac (e.g. Luke 16:1 for διαβάλλειν; and ’âkhçl ḳarzâ for ὁ διάβολος, the false accuser, or, ‘devil,’ Matthew 4:1, and regularly): here and Daniel 4:24 it is used at least in the sense of accuse maliciously.
8–18. The accusation brought against the three Jewish youths, and their answer to the king.Verse 8. - Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. The Septuagint is in this verse closer to the Massoretic than is Theodotion. The latter has nothing to represent the כָלאּךקבֵל דְנָה (kol-qobayl d'nah) of the original, which appears in our versions as "wherefore." The Septuagint renders κατέναντι τούτου. The Peshitta also has omitted "wherefore;" in the next clause it is slavishly accurate, giving the peculiar turn of the phrase in the original, 'achalu qartzchun, "to devour pieces of them." It occurs in the Syriac of Luke 16:1; it is in the Targum of Psalm 15:3. The Vulgate presents no points worthy of notice. It is evident that "Chaldean" is here used in its ethnic sense of the nation, not in its professional sense as of the alleged class. We must remember that "Chaldean" is not equivalent to "Babylonian." As we have seen, the Chaldeans were intruders in Babylon, and to them Nebuchadnezzar belonged. It was but natural that native-born Chaldeans, who reckoned themselves to be of the same kin as the king, objected to have their rights postponed to a set of Jews. The fact that the three friends are not named, or in any way designated, but the whole Jewish race is referred to, shows that the purpose of these Chaldeans involved the whole Jewish people, and that they singled out Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego simply as test cases. Their elevation to positions Of such trust might well have caused jealousy of them.
Ezekiel 47:13. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, This is the boundary according to which ye shall divide the land among you for an inheritance, for Joseph portions. Ezekiel 47:14. And ye shall receive it for an inheritance, one as well as another, because I lifted up my hand to give it to your fathers; and thus shall this land fall to you for an inheritance. Ezekiel 47:15. And this is the boundary of the land: toward the north side, from the great sea onwards by the way to Chetlon, in the direction of Zedad; Ezekiel 47:16. Hamath, Berotah, Sibraim, which is between the boundary of Damascus and the boundary of Hamath, the central Hazer, which is on the boundary of Haruan. Ezekiel 47:17. And the boundary from the sea shall be Hazar-Enon, the boundary town of Damascus; and as for the north northwards, Hamath is the boundary. This, the north side. Ezekiel 47:18. And the east side between Hauran and Damascus and Gilead and the land of Israel, shall be the Jordan; from the boundary to the eastern sea ye shall measure. This, the east side. Ezekiel 47:19. And the south side toward the south; from Tamar to the water of strife, Kadesh, along the brook to the great sea. This, the south side toward the south. Ezekiel 47:20. And the west side; the great sea from the boundary to Hamath. This, the west side. Ezekiel 47:21. This land shall ye divide among you according to the tribes of Israel. Ezekiel 47:22. And it shall come to pass, ye shall divide it by lot among yourselves for an inheritance, and among the foreigners who dwell in the midst of you, who have begotten sons in the midst of you; they shall be to you like natives born among the sons of Israel; they shall cast lots with you for an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. Ezekiel 47:23. And it shall come to pass, in the tribe in which the foreigner dwells, there shall ye give him his inheritance, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah.
The fixing of the boundary of the land which Israel was to divide in future according to its twelve tribes is commenced (Ezekiel 47:13 and Ezekiel 47:14) and concluded (Ezekiel 47:22 and Ezekiel 47:23) with certain general statements concerning the distribution. The introductory statements are attached to the heading "this is the boundary," which is therefore repeated in Ezekiel 47:15. גּה is evidently a copyist's error for זה, which is adopted by all the older translators, contained in some Codd., and demanded by וזה in Ezekiel 47:15. גּבוּל stands here for the whole of the boundary of the land to be distributed; and אשׁר which follows is an accusative, "according to which." - "According to the twelve tribes," - for all Israel is to return and dwell as one people of God under one prince in its own land (Ezekiel 36:24., Ezekiel 37:21.). But the division among the twelve tribes is more precisely defined immediately afterwards by the clause abruptly appended, "Joseph portions," i.e., two portions for Joseph. There can be no doubt that this is the meaning of the words in accordance with Genesis 48:22 and Joshua 17:14, Joshua 17:17. Hence the notice-like form of the expression, which should not be obliterated by pointing חבלים as a dual, חבלים. If the land was to be divided by lot according to twelve tribes, and the tribe of Levi was to receive its portion from the terumah which was set apart, Joseph must necessarily receive two hereditary portions for his sons Ephraim and Manasseh, in accordance with the appointment of the patriarch in Genesis 48:22. The commencement of Ezekiel 47:14 is not at variance with this, as Hitzig imagines; for the words, "ye shall receive it for an inheritance, one as another," simply affirm, that of the twelve tribes reckoned by Israel in relation to the נחלה, all were to receive equal shares, the one as much as the other. As the reason for this command to divide the land, allusion is made to the oath with which God promised to give this land to the fathers (cf. Ezekiel 20:28).
The definition of the boundaries commences with Ezekiel 47:15. In form it differs in many points from Numbers 34:1-5, but in actual fact it is in harmony with the Mosaic definition. In Numbers 34 the description commences with the southern boundary, then proceeds to the western and northern boundaries, and closes with the eastern. In Ezekiel it commences with the northern boundary and proceeds to the east, the south, and the west. This difference may be explained in a very simple manner, from the fact that the Israelites in the time of Moses came from Egypt i.e., marching from the south, and stood by the south-eastern boundary of the land, whereas at this time they were carried away into the northern lands Assyria and Babylon, and were regarded as returning thence. Again, in Ezekiel the boundaries are described much more briefly than in Numbers 34, the northern boundary alone being somewhat more circumstantially described. The course which it takes is represented in a general manner in Ezekiel 47:15 as running from the great sea, i.e., the Mediterranean, by the way to Chetlon, in the direction toward Zedad. In Ezekiel 47:16 and Ezekiel 47:17 there follow the places which formed the boundary. The starting-point on the Mediterranean Sea can only be approximately determined, as the places mentioned, Chetlon and Zedad, are still unknown. Not only Chetlon, but Zedad also, has not yet been discovered. The city of Sadad (Sudud), to the east of the road leading from Damascus to Hums (Emesa), which Robinson and Wetzstein suppose to be the same, lies much too far toward the east to be used in defining the boundary either here or in Numbers 34:8 (see the comm. on Numbers 34:8). Among the names enumerated in Ezekiel 47:16, חמת is not the city of Hamah on the Orontes, which lay much too far to the north, but the kingdom of Hamath, the southern boundary of which formed the northern boundary of Canaan, though it cannot be given with exactness. Berothah is probably identical with Berothai in 2 Samuel 8:8, a city of the king of Zobah; but the situation of it is still unknown. Sibraim may perhaps be identical with Ziphron in Numbers 34:9, which has also not yet been discovered, and is not to be sought for in the ruins of Zifran, to the north-east of Damascus, near the road to Palmyra; for that place could not form the boundary of Damascus and Hamath. The situation of the "central Hazer" has also not yet been determined. Hauran, on the boundary of which it stood, is used here in a more comprehensive sense that ̓Αυρανῖτις in Josephus and other Greek authors, and includes the later Auranitis, together with Gaulanitis (Golan) and Batanaea (Bashan), and probably also Ituraea, as only Damascus and Gilead are named in Ezekiel 47:18 in addition to Hauran, on the east side of the Jordan; so that the whole tract of land between the territory of Damascus and the country of Gilead is embraced by the name Hauran. חורן, Arab. Hawrân, is derived from the number of caves (חור, חוּר) in that district, to which Wetzstein (Reiseber. p. 92) indeed raises the objection that with the exception of the eastern and south-eastern Hauran, where no doubt most of the volcanic hills have been perforated by troglodytes, the dwellings in caves are by no means common in that region. But the name may have originated in this eastern district, and possibly have included even that portion of Gilead which was situated to the north of the Jabbok, namely, Erbed and Sut, the true cave-country. For further remarks concerning these districts, see the comm. on Deuteronomy 3:4 and Deuteronomy 3:10. The statement in Ezekiel 47:17, "the boundary from the sea shall be Hazar-Enon, the boundary of Damascus," cannot have any other meaning than that the northern boundary, which started from the Mediterranean Sea, stretched as far as Hazar-Enon, the frontier city of Damascus, or that Hazar-Enon formed the terminal point on the east, toward the boundary of Damascus, for the northern boundary proceeding from the sea. חצר עינון or חצר עינן (Numbers 34:9), i.e., spring-court, we have endeavoured to identify in the comm. on Numbers 34:3 with the spring Lebweh, which lies in the Beka at the watershed between the Orontes and the Leontes; and the designation "the boundary of Damascus" suits the situation very well. Ezekiel 47:17 has been aptly explained by Hitzig thus, in accordance with the literal meaning of the words, "and as for the north north-wards, Hamath is the boundary," which he further elucidates by observing that צפונה is intended as a supplementary note to the boundary line from west to east, which is indicated just before. ואת פּאת צפון is a concluding formula: "this, the north side." But ואת (here and Ezekiel 47:18 and Ezekiel 47:19) is not to be altered into זאת after Ezekiel 47:20 and the Syriac version, as Hitzig supposes, but to be explained, as Ezekiel 47:18 clearly shows, on the supposition that Ezekiel had תּמודּוּ, "ye shall measure," floating before his mind, to which 'ואת פ, "and that the northern boundary," would form a correct logical sequel.
The eastern boundary is defined in v. 18 in the same manner as in Numbers 34:10-12, except that in the latter it is more minutely described above the Lake of Gennesaret by the mention of several localities, whereas Ezekiel only names the Jordan as the boundary. - פּאת , with supplementary remarks, is not to be taken as the predicate to the subject היּרדּן, as Hitzig has correctly observed; for the meaning of פּאה does not allow of this. The explanation is rather this: as for the east side, between Hauran, etc. and the land of Israel, is the Jordan. Hauran, Damascus, and Gilead lie on the east side of the Jordan, the land of Israel on the west side. The striking circumstance that Ezekiel commences with Hauran, which lay in the middle between Damascus and Gilead, - Hauran, Damascus, and Gilead, instead of Damascus, Hauran, and Gilead, - may probably be explained from the fact that the Jordan, which he names as the boundary, for the sake of brevity, did not extend so far upwards as to the territory of Damascus, but simply formed the boundary of the land of Israel between Hauran and Gilead. מגּבוּל points back to the northern boundary already mentioned. From this boundary, the eastern terminal point of which was Hazar-Enon, they are to measure to the eastern sea, i.e., to the Dead Sea.
Ezekiel 47:19. The southern boundary toward the south is to proceed from Tamar to the water of strife, Kadesh, (and thence) along the brook to the great (i.e., Mediterranean) sea. Tamar, a different place from Hazazon-tamar, called Engedi in Ezekiel 47:10 (cf. 2 Chronicles 20:2), is supposed to be the Thamara (Θαμαρά),
(Note: The statement runs thus: λέγεται δέ τις Θαμαρά κώμη διεστώσα Μάψις ἡμέρας ὁδόν, ἀπιόντων ἀπὸ Χεβρὼν εἰς Αἰλάμ, ἥτις νῦν φρούριόν ἐστι τῶν στρατιωτῶν. In Jerome: est et aliud castellum, unius diei itinere a Mampsis oppido separatum, pergentibus Ailiam de Chebron, ubi nunc romanum praesidium positum est. But on account of the Μάψις (Mampsis), which is evidently a corruption, the passage is obscure. Robinson's conjecture concerning Thamara is founded upon the assumption that the reading should be Μάλις, and that this is the Malatha mentioned by later writers as the station of a Roman cohort.)
which was a day's journey on the road from Hebron to Aelam (Aelath, Deuteronomy 2:8; 1 Kings 9:26), according to Eusebius in the Onomast. ed. Lars. p. 68, and had a Roman garrison; and Robinson (Pal. III pp. 178 and 186ff.) accordingly conjectures that it is to be found in the ruins of Kurnub, which lie six hours' journey to the south of Milh, toward the pass of es-Sufh. But this conjecture is bound up with various assumptions of a very questionable character, and the situation of Hurnub hardly suits the Tamar of our passage, which should be sought, not to the west of the southern point of the Dead Sea, but, according to the southern boundary of Canaan as drawn in Numbers 34:3-5, to the south of the Dead Sea. The waters of strife of Kadesh (Numbers 20:1-13), in the desert of Zin, were near Kadesh-barnea, which was in the neighbourhood of the spring Ain Kades, discovered by Rowland to the south of Bir-Seba and Khalasa by the fore-courts of Jebel Helal, i.e., at the north-west corner of the mountain land of the Azazimeh (see the comm. on Numbers 10:12; Numbers 12:16, and Numbers 20:16). Instead of מריבות we have the singular מריבת in Ezekiel 48:28, as in Numbers 27:14 and Deuteronomy 32:51. נחלה is to be pointed נחלה, from נחל with ה loc.; and the reference is to the brook of Egypt; the great wady el-Arish ( ̔Ρινοκορουρα), along which the southern boundary of Canaan ran from Kadesh to the Mediterranean Sea (see the comm. on Ezekiel 34:5). - Ezekiel 47:20. The Mediterranean Sea formed the western boundary. מגּבוּל, i.e., from the southern boundary mentioned in Ezekiel 47:19 till opposite (עד) to the coming to Hamath, i.e., till opposite to the point at which one enters the territory of Hamath (Hitzig), i.e., the spot mentioned in Ezekiel 47:20 (? 17) as the commencement of the northern boundary in the neighbourhood of the promontory of esh-Shkah between Byblus (Gebal) and Tripolis. - Ezekiel 47:21. This land they are to divide among them according to their tribes. With this remark, which points back to Ezekiel 47:13, the definition of the boundaries is brought to a close. There is simply added in Ezekiel 47:22 and Ezekiel 47:23 a further regulation concerning the foreigners living in Israel. The law of Moses had already repeatedly urged upon the Israelites affectionate treatment of them, and in Leviticus 19:34 the command is given to treat them like natives in this respect, and to love them. But the full right of citizenship was not thereby conceded to them, so that they could also acquire property in land. The land was given to the Israelites alone for an hereditary possession. Foreigners could only be incorporated into the congregation of Israel under the limitations laid down in Deuteronomy 23:2-9, by the reception of circumcision. But in the future distribution of the land, on the contrary, the גּרים were to receive hereditary property like native-born Israelites; and in this respect no difference was to exist between the members of the people of God born of Abraham's seed and those born of the heathen. At the same time, this right was not to be conferred upon every foreigner who might be only temporarily living in Israel, but to those alone who should beget sons in the midst of Israel, i.e., settle permanently in the holy land. The Kal יפּלוּ is not to be altered into the Hiphil תּפּילוּ, as Hitzig proposes, but is used in the sense of receiving by lot, derived from the Hiphil signification, "to apportion by lot."
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