Daniel 4:26
And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; your kingdom shall be sure to you, after that you shall have known that the heavens do rule.
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(26) They commanded—i.e., the watchers. We observe, however, in Daniel 4:13 that the command is only ascribed to one of the watchers. This makes it appear that they form a council in which one acts in behalf of all.

Thy kingdom.—To make the sense plain we must supply before this word, “The interpretation of it is,” or some sentence to that effect.

Shall be sure.—Literally, shall arise. No successor shall be appointed during his life.

Do rulei.e., the heavens, or One in heaven ruleth the kingdoms of men.

4:19-27 Daniel was struck with amazement and terror at so heavy a judgment coming upon so great a prince, and gives advice with tenderness and respect. It is necessary, in repentance, that we not only cease to do evil, but learn to do good. Though it might not wholly prevent the judgment, yet the trouble may be longer before it comes, or shorter when it does come. And everlasting misery will be escaped by all who repent and turn to God.And whereas they commanded - The watchers, Daniel 4:15. Compare Daniel 4:17.

To leave the stump of the tree roots - Or, to leave roots to the stump of the tree; that is, it was not to be dug up, or wholly destroyed, but vitality was to be left in the ground. The Chaldee here is the same as in Daniel 4:15, "leave the stump of his roots."

Thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee - That is, thou shalt not die under this calamity, but after it has passed away shalt be restored to authority. It might have been supposed that this meant that the authority would survive in his family, and that those who were to succeed him would reign - as shoots spring up after the parent tree has fallen; but Daniel was directed to an interpretation which is not less in accordance with the fair meaning of the dream than this would have been.

After that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule - That God rules, This was the great lesson which the event was designed to teach, and when that should have been learned, there would be a propriety that he should be restored to his throne, and should proclaim this to the world.

26. thou shalt have known, &c.—a promise of spiritual grace to him, causing the judgment to humble, not harden, his heart.

heavens do rule—The plural is used, as addressed to Nebuchadnezzar, the head of an organized earthly kingdom, with various principalities under the supreme ruler. So "the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 4:17; Greek, "kingdom of the heavens") is a manifold organization, composed of various orders of angels, under the Most High (Eph 1:20, 21; 3:10; Col 1:16).

There shall be no other king chosen in thy room all the time thou livest as a stump of a tree. Thou shalt recover all again, young branches shall sprout out of thee, Job 14:7-9.

After that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule: see Daniel 4:34,35, &c. If princes will not learn and know this, God will beat it into them. This is the end of all God’s rods upon them, if they would hear the voice of them, and him that hath appointed them, 2 Chronicles 33:12,13 Psa 119:67,71 Mic 6:9. Though Nebuchadnezzar never proved a convert, yet God made him acknowledge this truth upon his restoration. And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots,.... That is the watchers and the Holy Ones; or it was commanded: this was the order given by the most High:

thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee; signifying that another king should not be set up in his place; and though the kingdom and administration of it would depart from, him for a while, yet it would be restored again, and be firm and stable:

after that thou shall have known that the heavens do rule; that is, that God, who is the Maker of the heavens, and dwells there, is known and acknowledged by thee to rule on the earth; from the government of which he was desirous of excluding him, and taking it to himself; see Luke 15:18.

And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule.
26. they commanded] viz. the watchers (cf. Daniel 4:17). Or, in accordance with the principle just explained, it was commanded.

sure] i.e. confirmed, secure: cf. Daniel 6:26 (‘stedfast’). The object of the humiliation was (Daniel 4:25 b) to teach the king that his power was not his own, but delegated to him by God, the supreme ruler of the world; provision was therefore made that when he had learnt this lesson his kingdom should be restored to him (cf. Daniel 4:32 b).

that the heavens do rule] The use of ‘heaven,’ either as a metonym, or as an expression of reverence, for God, does not occur elsewhere in the O.T.; but it is found in the Apocrypha, as 1Ma 3:18, R.V. [contrast 1 Samuel 14:6], 19 (cf. 1Ma 4:60), 1Ma 4:10; 1Ma 4:24; 1Ma 4:55, 2Ma 9:20; and it is especially frequent in the Mishna, as Abhoth, i. 3, ‘and let the fear of Heaven be upon you’; ii. 16, ‘let all thy deeds be in the name of Heaven’; iv. 7, ‘whoso profaneth the name of Heaven in secret, they punish him (i.e. he is punished) openly.’ Cf. Luke 15:18; Luke 15:21[243].

[243] See further examples in Dalman, l.c., pp. 178–180; and cf. Schürer2, ii. 454.

In connexion with the phrase here employed, it may be remarked that the original Jewish sense of the expression, ‘kingdom of heaven,’ is the rule, or government, of heaven[244].

[244] Dalman, pp. 75–77.Verse 26. - And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be. sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule. The Septuagint Version here is different, and not so good as the received text, "And (as for) the root of the tree which was left and not rooted out, the place of thy throne shall be preserved to thee to a season and an hour; behold, for thee they are prepared, and they shall bring judgment upon thee. The Lord liveth in heaven, and his power is in all the earth." The last clause here is plainly a paraphrase of "the heavens do rule." "A season and an hour" is a doublet, and since it is to be observed that the phrase, "after that thou shalt have known," is omitted, we may deduce that thindda, "thou shalt know," is, by transposition of letters, read l'iddan. Theodotion, who is usually slavish in his following of the Aramaic construction, renders here, "And because they said, Suffer the stump (φυὴν) of the roots of the tree." This suggests that in the text before Theodotion mere is omitted from למשבק (l'mishbaq), and it was read לשבקו (leishbaqoo), meaning, according to the Mandaitic form of the verb, "they shall leave" - a form in accordance with the previous construction, then further altered to the second person plural. The end of the verse is also slightly different, "Until thou shalt know the heavenly power," reading here shooltan dee shemya instead of shaltan shemya. The Peshitta renders, "till thou shalt know that power is from the heaven (min shemya)." Mr. Bevan remarks on this usage of "heavens" for "God," which he compares with the Mishna and with the New Testament. He does not observe that the difficulty all the translators have with the phrase is a proof that, when the versions were made, it was even then not a common usage; hence that its introduction here was not due to the influence of the Mishnaic Hebrew stretching back, but was owing rather to the peculiar circumstances of Daniel. Professor Bevan's reference to the New Testament is mistaken. In no case in the New Testament is οὔρανοι used for "God." Even in the Greek Apocrypha is no usage precisely equivalent. Daniel, by using the phrase he did, put himself on the same level as the heathen king - pride against the gods (ὕβρις), and of this, by implication, is Nebuchadnezzar here accused. Certainly the words of his inscriptions do not indicate anything of this sort. In fact, many of the phrases in the prayer to Marduk in the India House Inscription indicate reverent humility almost Christian. Still, these phrases might be due, to some extent, to political custom. The relation of a polytheist to his gods is a psychological enigma to a civilized monotheist. On the one hand, he recognizes his dependence on the god; on the other, he considers the god honoured by his worship, and therefore owing him certain duties in return.
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