He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Aloud—i.e., like a king’s herald. (Comp. Daniel 3:4.)
Hew down.—The plural is here used, implying that several persons are employed in carrying out the order.
Hew down the tree - This command does not appear to have been addressed to any particular ones who were to execute the commission, but it is a strong and significant way of saying that it would certainly be done. Or possibly the command may be understood as addressed to his fellow-watchers Daniel 4:17, or to orders of angels over whom this one presided.
And cut off his branches ... - The idea here, and in the subsequent part of the verse, is, that the tree was to be utterly cut up, and all its glory and beauty destroyed. It was first to be felled, and then its limbs chopped off, and then these were to be stripped of their foliage, and then the fruit which it bore was to be scattered. All this was strikingly significant, as applied to the monarch, of some awful calamity that was to occur to him after he should have been brought down from his throne. A process of humiliation and desolation was to continue, as if the tree, when cut down, were not suffered to lie quietly in its grandeur upon the earth. "Let the beasts get away," etc. That is, it shall cease to afford a shade to the beasts and a home to the fowls. The purposes which it had answered in the days of its glory will come to an end.
beasts get away from under it—It shall no longer afford them shelter (Eze 31:12).He cried aloud, and said; whereby is shown the consent of the angels, when one stirs up another to cut down, i.e. to cast out and take away.
and said thus, hew down the tree; remove this mighty monarch from his throne; take away his government from him: this is said to fellow angels employed in the affairs of Providence, and the execution of them, to bring about an event so momentous:
and cut off his branches; take away his provinces, each of the parts of his dominion, from him:
shake off his leaves: cause his deputy governors to shake off their allegiance to him:
and scatter his fruit; the revenues of his vast empire, and let others take them:
let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches; those that have either voluntarily betook themselves to him for protection; or have been carried captive by him, and have lived under his shadow, whether of the more barbarous nations, or more civilized, as the Jews; let them take the opportunity of withdrawing from him, and returning to their own lands; see Jeremiah 51:9.He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)14. The strength and magnificence of the great tree are all to be stripped from it.
aloud] lit. with might, as Daniel 3:4.
Hew down &c.] who are addressed, is not stated: as in other similar cases (Isaiah 13:2; Isaiah 40:3; Isaiah 57:14, Jeremiah 4:5, &c.), those whose duty it would naturally be to fulfil such a command are intended.Verse 14. - He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, cut off his branches, shako off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches. The Septuagint Version is, "And one called and said to him, Cut it down, and destroy it; for it is decreed by the Highest to root it out and destroy it." It is possible that abbey in the Greek was due to כֵן (kayn) being read as לו (lo). The phrase as it stands in the Greek is not unlike Revelation 14:18, "And another cried with a loud voice to him that had the sharp sickle." It is, therefore, equally possible that לו (lo) has been changed into כֵן (kayn). The latter part of the verse is more condensed, and therefore, by that, more probable; only the rooting out commanded seems to contradict the fact that it is also commanded to leave "one root of it." Theodotion is in much closer agreement with the Massoretic, save that the beasts, instead of being warned to depart from beneath the shadow of the tree, are to be shaken (σαλευθηῖωσαν) from beneath it, as are all the birds from its branches. The Peshitta is an accurate translation of the text of the Massoretes. A peculiarity to be observed in the Aramaic is that the verbs are in the plural, which is retained in Theodotion and the Peshitta. It seems difficult to understand this. Stuart's explanation ? which is practically that of Havernick and Hitzig - that the command is addressed by the עִיר ('eer) to his retinue, seems highly forced, as there has been no word of a retinue. Keil's and Kliefoth's view, that the plural is the impersonal, does not suit the circumstances. We have a suspicion that the plural is due to a mistake - thinking the watcher and the holy one were separate persons. The Septuagint, however, has the plural, which is all the more extraordinary that αὐτῷ is singular. The function assigned here to the angels must be observed. Here, as in the parables of our Lord, the angels are the instruments by whom the decrees of providence are executed. In our days angels are not believed in. It is possible that materialism has much of its advantage over us, in that we do not recognize the existence and activity of angelic forces among the agencies of nature and providence.
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