Daniel 5:12
For as much as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and showing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Forasmuch as.—The effect of these words is to combine the two facts mentioned in Daniel 5:11, and to make the advice at the end of this verse more forcible. “Because Daniel is a wise man, and has proved his wisdom in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, therefore send for him now.”

Dissolving of doubts.—See marginal alternative; and for an illustration comp. Records of the Past, vol. iii., p. 141.

5:10-17 Daniel was forgotten at court; he lived privately, and was then ninety years of age. Many consult servants of God on curious questions, or to explain difficult subjects, but without asking the way of salvation, or the path of duty. Daniel slighted the offer of reward. He spoke to Belshazzar as to a condemned criminal. We should despise all the gifts and rewards this world can give, did we see, as we may by faith, its end hastening on; but let us do our duty in the world, and do it all the real service we can.Forasmuch as an excellent spirit - Not an excellent spirit in the sense in which that phrase is sometimes used now, as denoting a good and pious spirit, but a spirit or mind that excels; that is, that is "distinguished" for wisdom and knowledge.

Interpreting of dreams - Margin, "or, of an interpreter." This was regarded as a great attainment, and was supposed to prove that one who could do it was inspired by the gods.

And showing of hard sentences - The meaning of enigmatical or obscure sentences. To be able to do this was supposed to indicate great attainments, and was a knowledge that was much coveted. Compare Proverbs 1:6 : "To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings."

And dissolving of doubts - Margin, "or, a dissolver of knots." So the Chaldee. This language is still common in the East, to denote one who has skill in explaining difficult subjects. "In the copy of a patent given to Sir John Chardin in Persia, we find it is addressed 'to the Lords of lords, who have the presence of a lion, the aspect of Deston; the princes who have the stature of Tahemtenten, who seem to be in the time of Ardevon, the regents who carry the majesty of Ferribours. The conquerors of kingdoms. Superintendents that unloose all manner of knots, and who are under the ascendant of Mercury,'" etc. - Taylor's "Fragments to Calmet's Dict.," No. 174. The language used here would be applicable to the explanation of any difficult and perplexing subject.

Whom the king named Belteshazzar - That is, the name was given to him by his authority (see the note at John 1:7), and it was by this name that he called him when he addressed him, Daniel 4:9.

11. spirit of the holy gods—She remembers and repeats Nebuchadnezzar's language (Da 4:8, 9, 18). As Daniel was probably, according to Oriental custom, deprived of the office to which Nebuchadnezzar had promoted him, as "master of the magicians" (Da 4:9), at the king's death, Belshazzar might easily be ignorant of his services.

the king … thy father the king … thy father—The repetition marks with emphatic gravity both the excellencies of Daniel, and the fact that Nebuchadnezzar, whom Belshazzar is bound to reverence as his father, had sought counsel from him in similar circumstances.

No text from Poole on this verse. Forasmuch as an excellent spirit,.... A superior spirit to all the wise men in Babylon for natural knowledge and political wisdom; and he had yet a more excellent spirit which she knew nothing of, and was no judge of; a spirit of real grace, and true piety and devotion:

and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams; of which interpreting two of Nebuchadnezzar's was a proof:

and showing hard sentences: or explaining enigmas and riddles, or proverbial, parabolical, and figurative phrases and expressions:

and dissolving of doubts: or untying knots, solving problems, and answering knotty, intricate, and difficult questions:

were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar; the prince of his eunuchs gave him that name, perhaps by the king's order; however, it was confirmed by him; he called him by it, and says it was according to the name of his god; see Daniel 1:7,

now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation; this she was confident of, from the knowledge she had of the above facts.

Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. an excellent spirit] a surpassing spirit, i.e. pre-eminent ability. Cf. Daniel 5:14, Daniel 6:3; and see on Daniel 2:31. The Aramaic word used stands often in the Syriac version of the N.T. for πλεῖον and περισσότερον, as Matthew 6:25; Matthew 11:9; Matthew 12:42.

interpreting … dissolving] These two English words are, of course, substantives. The meaning of the passage is, no doubt, given correctly, but it involves a change of punctuation: in the original, the two words, as actually pointed, are participles and out of construction with the context.

shewing of hard sentences] declaring of riddles. As Prof. Bevan remarks, the two Aramaic words here used correspond exactly to the two Hebrew words found in Jdg 14:14-15; Jdg 14:19, and there rendered ‘declare the riddle.’ ‘Hard’ or (R.V.) ‘dark sentences,’ or ‘sayings’ (Psalm 49:4; Psalm 78:2; Proverbs 1:6) is an obscure expression, the retention of which in the R.V. is to be regretted. The Hebrew word is the same as that which is used in 1 Kings 10:1 of the ‘hard questions’ with which the Queen of Sheba plied Solomon. It is also used of an allegory Ezekiel 17:2, of an ‘enigma’ of life, Psalm 49:4, of a truth taught indirectly Psalm 78:2, and of a satirical poem, containing indirect, taunting allusions, Habakkuk 2:6. Orientals love both actual riddles and also indirect, figurative modes of speech; and the power of explaining either the one or the other is highly esteemed by them.

dissolving of doubts] loosing of knots: i.e. either solving of difficulties (cf. the same word in the Talm., Jebamoth 61a (‘I see a knot [difficulty] here,’ 107b ‘they made two knots [raised two difficulties] against him’; it has also the same sense of perplexity in Syriac, P.S[258] col. 3591); or (Bevan) untying of magic knots or spells (cf. this sense of the word in Syriac, ‘tiers of knots,’ of a species of enchanters, ‘incantations and knots,’ P.S[259] l. c.), to accomplish which demanded special skill.

[258] .S. R. Payne Smith, Thesaurus Syriacus.

[259] .S. R. Payne Smith, Thesaurus Syriacus.

whom the king named Belteshazzar] See Daniel 1:7.

and he will shew] declare (Daniel 5:7).Of this expedition of Nebuchadnezzar against Jerusalem it is related in the second book of Kings (2 Kings 24:1): "In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years; then he turned and rebelled against him;" and in the second book of Chronicles (2 Chronicles 36:6): "Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters to carry him to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar also carried off the vessels of the house of the Lord to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon." That both of these statements refer to the same expedition of Nebuchadnezzar against Jehoiakim mentioned here, appears not only from the statement of the book of Chronicles agreeing with Daniel 1:2 of this chapter, namely, that Nebuchadnezzar took away a part of the sacred vessels of the temple to Babylon, and there put them in the temple of his god, but also from the circumstance that, beyond all doubt, during the reign of Jehoiakim where was not a second siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. It is true, indeed, that when Jehoiakim threw off the yoke at the end of three years' subjection, Nebuchadnezzar sent Chaldean, Aramaean, Moabitish, and Ammonitish hosts against him for the purpose of bringing him into subjection, but Jerusalem was not again laid siege to by these hosts till the death of Jehoiakim. Not till his son Jehoiachin ascended the throne did the servants of Nebuchadnezzar again come up against Jerusalem and besiege it. When, during the siege, Nebuchadnezzar himself came up, Jehoiachin surrendered to him after three months, and was, along with the chief men of his kingdom, and the strength of the population of Jerusalem and Judah, and the treasures of the royal palace and of the temple, carried down to Babylon (2 Kings 24:2-16). The year, however, in which Nebuchadnezzar, in the reign of Jehoiakim, first took Jerusalem and carried away a part of the treasures of the temple to Babylon, is stated neither in the second book of Kings nor in Chronicles, but may be pretty certainly determined by the statements of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 46:2; Jeremiah 25:1., Jeremiah 36:1.). According to Jeremiah 46:2, Nebuchadnezzar smote the Egyptian king Pharaoh-Necho with his army at Carchemish in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim. That same year is spoken of (Jeremiah 25:1) as the first year of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and is represented by Jeremiah not only as a critical period for the kingdom of Judah; but also, by the prediction that the Lord would bring His servant Nebuchadnezzar against Judah and against its inhabitants, and against all the nations round about, that He would make Judah a desolation, and that these nations would serve the king of Babylon seventy years (Jeremiah 25:2-11), he without doubt represents it as the beginning of the seventy years of Babylonish exile: In this the fourth year of Jehoiakim, the prophet was also commanded (Jeremiah 36:1.) to write in a book all the words which the Lord had spoken unto him against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day in which He had spoken to him in the time of Josiah even till then, that the house of Judah might hear all the evil which He purposed to do unto them, and might return every man from his evil way. Jeremiah obeyed this command, and caused these predictions, written in the roll of a book, to be read by Baruch to the people in the temple; for he himself was a prisoner, and therefore could not go to the temple.

The first capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar cannot therefore have taken place in the third, but must have been in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, i.e., in the year 606 b.c. This, however, appears to stand in opposition to the statement of the first verse of this chapter: "In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim בּא Nebuchadnezzar to Jerusalem." The modern critics accordingly number this statement among the errors which must disprove the genuineness of this book (see above, p. 508f.). The apparent opposition between the language of Daniel (Daniel 1:1) that Nebuchadnezzar undertook his first expedition against Jerusalem in the third year of Jehoiakim, and the affirmation of Jeremiah, according to which not only was Pharaoh-Necho slain by Nebuchadnezzar at the Euphrates in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, but also in this same year Nebuchadnezzar's invasion of Judea is for the first time announced, cannot be resolved either by the hypothesis of a different mode of reckoning the years of the reign of Jehoiakim and of Nebuchadnezzar, nor by the supposition that Jerusalem had been already taken by Nebuchadnezzar before the battle of Carchemish, in the third year of Jehoiakim. The first supposition is set aside by the circumstance that there is no certain analogy for it.

(Note: The old attempt to reconcile the difference in this way has already been shown by Hengstenberg (Beit. z. Einl. in d. A. T. p. 53) to be untenable; and the supposition of Klief. (p. 65f.), that Jehoiakim entered on his reign near the end of a year, and that Jeremiah reckons the year of his reign according to the calendar year, but that Daniel reckons it from the day of his ascending the throne, by which it is made out that there is no actual difference, is wholly overthrown by the circumstance that in the sacred Scriptures there is no analogy for the reckoning of the year of a king's reign according to the day of the month on which he began to reign. On this supposition we might reconcile the apparent difference only if no other plan of reconciliation were possible. But such is not the actual state of the case.)

The latter supposition is irreconcilable with Jeremiah 25 and 36.

(Note: Following the example of Hofmann (die 70 Jahre Jer. p. 13ff.), Hvernick (Neue Krit. Unterss. ber d. B. Daniel, p. 52ff.), Zndel (Krit. Unterss. p. 20ff.), and others have decided in favour of it.)

If Jeremiah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim announced that because Judah did not hearken unto his warnings addressed to them "from the thirteenth year of Josiah even unto this day," that is, for the space of three and twenty years, nor yet to the admonitions of all the other prophets (Jeremiah 25:3-7) whom the Lord had sent unto them, therefore the Lord would now send His servant Nebuchadnezzar with all the people of the north against the land and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, utterly to destroy the land and make it desolate, etc. - then it must be affirmed that he publicly made known the invasion of Judah by the Chaldeans as an event which had not yet taken place, and therefore that the supposition that Jerusalem had already in the preceding year been taken by Nebuchadnezzar, and that Jehoiakim had been brought under his subjection, is entirely excluded. It is true that in Daniel 25 Jeremiah prophesies a judgment of "perpetual desolations against Jerusalem and against all the nations," but it is as unwarrantable to apply, as Klief. does, this prophecy only "to the total destruction of Jerusalem and of Judah, which took place in the eleventh year of Zedekiah," as with older interpreters only to the first expedition of Nebuchadnezzar against Jehoiakim, 2 Kings 24:1 and 2 Chronicles 36:6. In the words of threatening uttered by the prophet there are included all the expeditions of Nebuchadnezzar against Jerusalem and Judah, from his first against Jehoiakim to the final destruction of Jerusalem under Zedekiah; so that we cannot say that it is not applicable to the first siege of Jerusalem under Jehoiakim, but to the final destruction of Judah and Jerusalem, as this whole prophecy is only a comprehensive intensified summary of all the words of God hitherto spoken by the mouth of the prophet. To strengthen the impression produced by this comprehensive word of God, he was commanded in that same year (Jeremiah 36:1.), as already mentioned, to write out in the roll of a book all the words hitherto spoken by him, that it might be seen whether or not the several words gathered together into a whole might not exert an influence over the people which the separate words had failed to do.

Moreover a destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans before the overthrow of the Egyptian power on the Euphrates, which took place in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, cannot at all be thought of. King Jehoiakim was "put into bands" by Pharaoh-Necho and made a tributary vassal to him (2 Kings 23:33.), and all the land from the river of Egypt even unto the Euphrates was brought under his sway; therefore Nebuchadnezzar could not desolate Judah and Jerusalem before Pharaoh-Necho was slain. Neither could Nebuchadnezzar pass in the presence of the Egyptian host stationed in the stronghold of Carchemish, on the Euphrates, and advance toward Judah, leaving behind him the city of Babylon as a prize to so powerful an enemy, nor would Necho, supposing that Nebuchadnezzar had done this, have quietly allowed his enemy to carry on his operations, and march against his vassal Jehoiakim, without following in the rear of Egypt's powerful foe.

(Note: With the above compare my Lehrb. der Einl. 131, and my Commentary on 2 Kings 24:1. With this Kran. agrees (p. 17f.), and in addition remarks: "In any case Necho would at once have regarded with jealousy every invasion of the Chaldean into the region beyond the Euphrates, and would least of all have suffered him to make an extensive western expedition for the purpose of conquering Judea, which was under the sway of Egypt.")

The statement in the first verse may indeed, literally taken, be interpreted as meaning that Nebuchadnezzar came up against Jerusalem and took in in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, because בּוא frequently means to come to a place. But it is not necessary always so to interpret the word, because בּוא means not only to come, but also to go, to march to a place. The assertion, that in this verse בּוא is to be interpreted (Hv. N. Kr. U. p. 61, Ew., and others) as meaning to come to a place, and not to march to it, is as incorrect as the assertion that the translation of בּא by he marched is inadmissible or quite impossible, because עלה is generally used of the march of an army (Staeh., Znd.). The word בּוא, from the first book of the Canon (cf. Genesis 14:5) to the last, the book of Daniel not excepted (cf. e.g., Daniel 11:13, Daniel 11:17, Daniel 11:29, etc.), is used of military expeditions; and regarding the very general opinion, that בּוא, in the sense of to march, to go to a place, occurs less frequently, Kran. (p. 21) has rightly remarked, that "it stands always and naturally in this sense whenever the movement has its point of departure from the place of him who observes it, thinks of it, or makes a communication regarding it." Therefore, e.g., it is used "always in a personal verbal command with reference to the movement, not yet undertaken, where naturally the thought as to the beginning or point of departure passes into the foreground; as e.g., in Genesis 45:17; Exodus 6:11; Exodus 7:26; Exodus 9:1; Exodus 10:1; Numbers 32:6; 1 Samuel 20:19; 2 Kings 5:5. In Jonah 1:3 it is used of the ship that was about to go to Tarshish; and again, in the words עמּהם לבוא, ibid., it is used when speaking of the conclusion of the journey." "On the contrary, if the speaker or narrator is at the terminus ad quem of the movement spoken of, then of course the word בּוא is used in the other sense of to come, to approach, and the like." Accordingly these words of Daniel, "Nebuchadnezzar בּוא to Jerusalem," considered in themselves, may be interpreted without any regard to the point of departure or the termination of the movement. They may mean "Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem," or that "he marched to Jerusalem," according as the writer is regarded as writing in Judah or Jerusalem, or in Babylon at the point of departure of Nebuchadnezzar's journey. If the book was composed by a Maccabean Jew in Palestine, then the translation, "he came to Jerusalem," would be the more correct, because such a writer would hardly have spoken of a military movement from its eastern point of departure. The case is altogether different if Daniel, who lived as a courtier in Babylon from his youth up to old age, wrote this account. "For him, a Jew advanced in years, naturally the first movement of the expedition threatening and bringing destruction to his fatherland, whether it moved directly or by a circuitous route upon the capital, would be a significant fact, which he had in every respect a better opportunity of comprehending than his fellow-countrymen living in the remote west, since this expedition was an event which led to the catastrophe of the exile. For the Jew writing in Babylon about the expedition, the fatal commencement of the march of the Chaldean host would have a mournful significance, which it could not have for a writer living in Jerusalem."

In this way Kran. has thoroughly vindicated the rendering of בּא, "he marched" to Jerusalem, and also the explanation of the word as referring to the setting out of the Chaldean army which Hitz., Hofm., Staeh., Znd., and others have declared to be opposed to the meaning of the word and "impossible," and at the same time he has set aside as groundless the further remark of Hitzig, that the designation of the time also applies to ויּצר. If בּא is to be understood of an expedition with reference to its point of departure, then the fixing of its time cannot of course refer also to the time of the arrival of the expedition at its termination and the siege then ensuing. The time of its arrival before Jerusalem, as well as the beginning, duration, and end of the siege, is not defined, and only its result, the taking of Jerusalem, is, according to the object of the author, of sufficient importance to be briefly announced. The period of the taking of the city can only be determined from dates elsewhere given. Thus from the passages in Jeremiah already referred to, it appears that this happened in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, in which year Nebuchadnezzar overcame the army of Necho king of Egypt at the Euphrates (Jeremiah 46:2), and took all the land which the king of Egypt had subdued, from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates, so that Pharaoh-Necho came no more out of his land (2 Kings 24:7). With this agrees Berosus in the fragments of his Chaldean history preserved by Josephus (Ant. x. 11. 1, and c. Ap. i. 19). His words, as found in the latter passage, are these: "When his (Nebuc.) father Nabopolassar heard that the satrap whom he had set over Egypt and over the parts of Coelesyria and Phoenicia had revolted from him, he was unable to bear the annoyance any longer, but committing a part of his army to his son Nabuchodonosor, who was then a youth, he sent him against the rebel. Nabuchodonosor encountered him in battle and overcame him, and brought the land again under his dominion. It happened that his father Nabopolassar at this time fell sick and died at the city of Babylon, after he had reigned twenty-one years (Berosus says twenty-nine years). But when Nabuchodonosor not long after heard of the death of his father, he set the affairs of Egypt and of the other countries in order, and committed the prisoners he had taken from the Jews, the Phoenicians, and Syrians, and from the nations belonging to Egypt, to some of his friends, that they might conduct the heavy armed troops with the rest of the baggage to Babylonia, while he himself hastened with a small escort through the desert to Babylon. When he came hither, he found that the public affairs had been managed by the Chaldeans, and that the principal persons among them had preserved the kingdom for him. He now obtained possession of all his father's dominions, and gave directions that the captives should be placed as colonies in the most favourably situated districts of Babylonia," etc. This fragment illustrates in an excellent manner the statements made in the Bible, in case one be disposed to estimate the account of the revolt of the satrap placed over Egypt and the countries lying round Coelesyria and Phoenicia as only the expression of boastfulness on the part of the Babylonish historian, claiming that all the countries of the earth of right belonged to the monarch of Babylon; and it also shows that the rebel satrap could be none other than Pharaoh-Necho. For Berosus confirms not only the fact, as declared in 2 Kings 24:7, that Pharaoh-Necho in the last year of Nabopolassar, after the battle at Megiddo, had subdued Judah, Phoenicia, and Coelesyria, i.e., "all the land from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates," but he also bears witness to the fact that Nebuchadnezzar, after he had slain Pharaoh-Necho (Jeremiah 46:2) "by the river Euphrates in Carchemish," made Coelesyria, Phoenicia, and Judah tributary to the Chaldean empire, and consequently that he took Jerusalem not before but after the battle at Carchemish, in prosecution of the victory he had obtained over the Egyptians.

This does not, however, it must be confessed, prove that Jerusalem had already in the fourth year of Jehoiakim come under the dominion of Nebuchadnezzar. Therefore Hitz. and others conclude from Jeremiah 36:9 that Nebuchadnezzar's assault upon Jerusalem was in the ninth month of the fifth year of Jehoiakim as yet only in prospect, because in that month Jeremiah prophesied of the Chaldean invasion, and the extraordinary fast then appointed had as its object the manifestation of repentance, so that thereby the wrath of God might be averted. This Kran. endeavours to prove from 2 Kings 25:27, cf. Jeremiah 52:31. But in the ninth month of the fifth year of Jehoiakim, Jeremiah caused to be rehearsed to the people in the court of the temple his former prophecies, written by Baruch in a book according to the commandment of the Lord, and pronounced the threatening against Jehoiakim because he had cut to pieces this book and had cast it into the fire, Jeremiah 36:29. This threatening, that God would bring upon the seed and upon the servants of Jehoiakim, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, all the evil which He had pronounced against them (Jeremiah 36:31), does not exclude the previous capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, but announces only the carrying out of the threatened judgment in the destruction of Jerusalem and of the kingdom of Judah to be as yet imminent.

The extraordinary fast of the people also, which was appointed for the ninth month, was not ordained with the view of averting the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, which was then expected, after the battle at Carchemish; for although fasts were sometimes appointed or kept for the purpose of turning away threatened judgment or punishment (e.g., 2 Samuel 12:15.; 1 Kings 21:27; Esther 4:1; Esther 3:1-15 :16), yet, in general, fasts were more frequently appointed to preserve the penitential remembrance of punishments and chastisements which had been already endured: cf. e.g., Zechariah 7:5; Ezra 10:6.; Nehemiah 1:4; 1 Samuel 31:13; 2 Samuel 1:12, etc. To ascertain, therefore, what was the object of this fast which was appointed, we must keep in view the character of Jehoiakim and his relation to this fast. The godless Jehoiakim, as he is represented in 2 Kings 23:37; 2 Chronicles 36:5, and Jeremiah 22:13., was not the man who would have ordained a fast (or allowed it if the priests had wished to appoint it) to humble himself and his people before God, and by repentance and prayer to turn away the threatened judgment. Before he could ordain a fast for such a purpose, Jehoiakim must hear and observe the word of the prophet, and in that case he would not have been so enraged at the reading of the prophecies of Jeremiah as to have cut the book to pieces and cast it into the fire. If the fast took place previous to the arrival of the Chaldeans before Jerusalem, then neither the intention of the king nor his conduct in regard to it can be comprehended. On the other hand, as Znd. p. 21, and Klief. p. 57, have shown, both the ordaining of a general fast, and the anger of the king at the reading of the prophecies of Jeremiah in the presence of the people in the temple, are well explained, if the fast is regarded as designed to keep in remembrance the day of the year on which Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem. As Jehoiakim bore with difficulty the yoke of the Chaldean oppression, and from the first meditated on a revolt, for after three years he did actually revolt, he instituted the fast "to stir up the feelings of the people against the state of vassalage into which they had been brought" (Klief.), "and to call forth a religious enthusiasm among them to resist the oppressor" (Znd.). This opposition could only, however, result in the destruction of the people and the kingdom. Jeremiah therefore had his prophecies read to the people in the temple on that day by Baruch "as a counterbalance to the desire of the king," and announced to them that Nebuchadnezzar would come again to subdue the land and to destroy from out of it both man and beast. "Therefore the king was angry, and destroyed the book, because he would not have the excitement of the people to be so hindered; and therefore also the princes were afraid (Jeremiah 36:16) when they heard that the book of these prophecies was publicly read" (Klief.).

The words of 2 Kings 25:27, cf. Jeremiah 52:31, do not contradict this conclusion from Jeremiah 36:9, even though that drawn by Kran., p. 18, from this passage were adopted, viz., that since almost thirty-seven whole years had passed from the carrying away of Jehoiachin to the end of the forty-three years of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, but Jehoiachin had reigned only for a few months, the beginning of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar must be dated in the sixth of the eleven years' reign of Jehoiakim, the predecessor of Jehoiachin. For since, according to the testimony of Berosus, Nebuchadnezzar conducted the war against Hither Asia, in which he slew king Necho at Carchemish, and as a further consequence of this victory took Jerusalem, before the death of his father, in the capacity of a commander-in-chief clothed with royal power, and when in Hither Asia, as it seems, and on the confines of Egypt, he then for the first time heard tidings of his father's death, and therefore hastened by the shortest road to Babylon to assume the crown and lay claim to all his father's dominions, - then it follows that his forty-three years' reign begins after the battle of Carchemish and the capture of Jerusalem under Jehoiakim, and might possibly have begun in the sixth year of Jehoiakim, some five months after the ninth month of the fifth year of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 36:9). Against this supposition the circumstance that Nebuchadnezzar, as stated in Jeremiah 46:2; Jeremiah 25:1, and also Daniel 1:1, was called king of Babylon before he had actually ascended the throne is no valid objection, inasmuch as this title is explained as a prolepsis which would be easily understood by the Jews in Palestine. Nabopolassar came into no contact at all with Judah; the Jews therefore knew scarcely anything of his reign and his death; and the year of Nebuchadnezzar's approach to Jerusalem would be regarded in a general way both by Jeremiah and his contemporaries as the first year of his reign, and the commander of the Chaldean army as the king of Babylon, no matter whether on account of his being actual co-regent with his aged and infirm father, or merely because he was clothed with royal power as the chief commander of the army.

(Note: Thus not only Hgstb. Beitr. i. p. 63, Hv., Klief., Kran., etc., but also v. Lengerke, Daniel. p. 3, and Hitz. Daniel. p. 3. The latter, e.g., remarks: "The designation as king does not furnish any obvious objection, for Nebuchadnezzar, the commander-in-chief of the army, is to the Jewish writers (thus Jeremiah 25:1) a king when he first comes under their notice. They appear to have had no knowledge whatever of his father.")

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