Daniel 5:18
O you king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) The most high God.—Comp. this and the three following verses with Daniel 4:16-17; Daniel 4:22-25.

Daniel 5:18-19. O thou king — Before Daniel reads the writing, he judges it proper to remind the king of God’s dealings with Nebuchadnezzar, his progenitor, and of those remarkable instances of divine providence, both in mercy and in judgment, which were intended to be an instructive lesson, as to all princes that should hear of them, so especially to all the descendants of that great monarch. He also, with great fidelity and seriousness, sets Belshazzar’s profane conduct before him, that he might be humbled and brought to repentance. The most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, &c. — His great power, and vast extent of empire, were the gifts of God to him, and were not acquired by his own policy or bravery, or those of his generals and armies. Grotius explains the different terms of this verse thus: A kingdom, that is, a widely-extended empire; majesty, or magnificence among his subjects; glory from his victories; and honour from the enlargement of the city, the building of its walls, temple, and palace. And for the majesty that he gave him — For the vast power, riches, and victorious hand which he gave him; all people, nations, &c., trembled and feared before him, &c. — We have here a strong picture of the absolute and independent power of these princes; they regarded their subjects only as slaves. Xerxes, having assembled the great men of his kingdom, when he had determined to undertake the war against Greece, said to them, “I have assembled you that I might not seem to act solely by my own counsel; but remember that I expect obedience, not advice from you.” — Calmet.5:18-31 Daniel reads Belshazzar's doom. He had not taken warning by the judgments upon Nebuchadnezzar. And he had insulted God. Sinners are pleased with gods that neither see, nor hear, nor know; but they will be judged by One to whom all things are open. Daniel reads the sentence written on the wall. All this may well be applied to the doom of every sinner. At death, the sinner's days are numbered and finished; after death is the judgment, when he will be weighed in the balance, and found wanting; and after judgment the sinner will be cut asunder, and given as a prey to the devil and his angels. While these things were passing in the palace, it is considered that the army of Cyrus entered the city; and when Belshazzar was slain, a general submission followed. Soon will every impenitent sinner find the writing of God's word brought to pass upon him, whether he is weighed in the balance of the law as a self-righteous Pharisee, or in that of the gospel as a painted hypocrite.O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom ... - This reference to Nebuchadnezzar is evidently designed to show to Belshazzar the wickedness of his own course, and the reason which he had to apprehend the Divine vengeance, because he had not learned to avoid the sins which brought so great calamities upon his predecessor. As he was acquainted with what had occurred to Nebuchadnezzar; as he had doubtless seen the proclamation which he had made on his recovery from the dreadful malady which God had brought upon him for his pride; and as he had not humbled himself, but had pursued the same course which Nebuchadnezzar did, he had the greater reason to apprehend the judgment of heaven. See Daniel 5:22-23. Daniel here traces all the glory which Nebuchadnezzar had to "the most high God," reminding the king that whatever honor and majesty he had he was equally indebted for it to the same source, and that he must expect a similar treatment from him. 18. God gave—It was not his own birth or talents which gave him the vast empire, as he thought. To make him unlearn his proud thought was the object of God's visitation on him.

majesty—in the eyes of his subjects.

glory—from his victories.

honour—from the enlargement and decoration of the city.

This the prophet repeats, to put Belshazzar in mind how God dealt with his father; for it is good for kings to read over the story of their ancestors, and take warning, and take example. In the first they are seamarks, in the second landmarks. O thou king,.... "Hear" (t), O king; so Aben Ezra supplies it; what he was about to say first, in order to prepare him for the meaning of the handwriting, and the cause of it; or, "thou knowest", as Saadiah supplies it; namely, what follows:

the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom: a very large one, which reached to the ends of the earth: this was not to be ascribed to his predecessor that left it to him; or to his victorious arms, which increased it; or to his idol gods, to whom he attributed it; but to the most high God, from whom promotion alone cometh; and who, being above all gods and kings, sets up, and pulls down, as he pleases; he gave him his large dominions:

and majesty, and glory, and honour; greatness among men; glory and honour from them, on account of the majesty of his person and kingdom; the victories he obtained, and the great things he did to make him famous while he lived, and to perpetuate his memory after death.

(t) So Pagninus, Munster.

O thou king, the most high God gave {l} Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour:

(l) Before he read the writing, he declares to the king his great ingratitude toward God, who could not be moved to give him the glory, considering God's wonderful work toward his grandfather, and so shows that he does not sin from ignorance but from malice.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18–24. Before interpreting the writing Daniel reads the king a lesson. Nebuchadnezzar’s pride, combined with his refusal to recognize the sovereignty of the true God, had brought upon him a bitter humiliation: Belshazzar has exhibited the same faults yet more conspicuously: and the present sign has been sent in order to warn him of the impending punishment.

18 the kingdom, and greatness, and glory, and majesty] Cf. Daniel 4:22; Daniel 4:36.Daniel and his three friends were among the young men who were carried to Babylon. They were of the sons of Judah, i.e., of the tribe of Judah. From this it follows that the other youths of noble descent who had been carried away along with them belonged to other tribes. The name of none of these is recorded. The names only of Daniel and his three companions belonging to the same tribe are mentioned, because the history recorded in this book specially brings them under our notice. As the future servants of the Chaldean king, they received as a sign of their relation to him other names, as the kings Eliakim and Mattaniah had their names changed (2 Kings 23:34; 2 Kings 24:17) by Necho and Nebuchadnezzar when they made them their vassals. But while these kings had only their paternal names changed for other Israelitish names which were given to them by their conquerors, Daniel and his friends received genuine heathen names in exchange for their own significant names, which were associated with that of the true God. The names given to them were formed partly from the names of Babylonish idols, in order that thereby they might become wholly naturalized, and become estranged at once from the religion and the country of their fathers.

(Note: "The design of the king was to lead these youths to adopt the customs of the Chaldeans, that they might have nothing in common with the chosen people." - Calvin.)

Daniel, i.e., God will judge, received the name Belteshazzar, formed from Bel, the name of the chief god of the Babylonians. Its meaning has not yet been determined. Hananiah, i.e., the Lord is gracious, received the name Shadrach, the origin of which is wholly unknown; Mishael, i.e., who is what the Lord is, was called Meshach, a name yet undeciphered; and Azariah, i.e., the Lord helps, had his name changed into Abednego, i.e., slave, servant of Nego or Nebo, the name of the second god of the Babylonians (Isaiah 46:1), the בbeing changed by the influence of בin עבד into ג (i.e., Nego instead of Nebo).

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