This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
MENE, number, MENE, number, TEKEL, weight, (PERES) (division) UPHARSIN, division. Or, as it is explained more accurately by Berholdt and Gesenius:
Mene, Numbered, Mene, Numbered, Tekel, Weighted, Upharsin. Divided. From this arrangement it will be at once seen that the interpretation proposed by Daniel was not one that would have been likely to have occurred to anyone.
Mene - מנא menê'. This word is a passive participle from מנה menâh - "to number, to review." - Gesenius, "Lex." The verb is also written מנא menâ' - Buxtorf, "Lex." It would be literally translated "numbered," and would apply to that of which an estimate was taken by counting. We use now an expression which would convey a similar idea, when we say of one that "his days are numbered;" that is, he has not long to live, or is about to die. The idea seems to be taken from the fact, that the duration of a man's life cannot usually be known, and in the general uncertainty we can form no correct estimate of it, but when he is old, or when he is dangerously sick, we feel that we can with some degree of probability number his days, since he cannot now live long. Such is the idea here, as explained by Daniel. All uncertainty about the duration of the kingdom was now removed, for, since the evil had come, an exact estimate of its whole duration - of the number of the years of its continuance - could be made. In the Greek of Theodotion there is no attempt to translate this word, and it is retained in Greek letters - Μανὴ Manē. So also in the Codex Chisianus and in the Latin Vulgate.
God hath numbered thy kingdom - The word which is used here, and rendered "numbered" - מנה menâh - is the verb of which the previous word is the participle. Daniel applies it to the "kingdom" or "reign" of the monarch, as being a thing of more importance than the life of the king himself. It is evident, if, according to the common interpretation of Daniel 5:30, Belshazzar was slain that very night, it "might" have been applied to the king himself, meaning that his days were numbered, and that he was about to die. But this interpretation (see Notes) is not absolutely certain, and perhaps the fact that Daniel did not so apply the word may be properly regarded as one circumstance showing that such an interpretation is not necessary, though probably it is the correct one.
And finished it - This is not the meaning of the word "Mene," but is the explanation by Daniel of the thing intended. The word in its interpretation fairly implied that; or that might be understood from it. The fact that the "kingdom" in its duration was "numbered," properly expressed the idea that it was now to come to an end. It did actually then come to an end by being merged in that of the Medes and Persians.Mene, Mene; He hath numbered, or, It is numbered, it is numbered. These words are doubled for the greater confirmation, to note that the number of his sins and of his days, both of life and reign, are full. It relates to the number of the seventy years’ captivity now completed, or to the seventy years for the overthrow of the Babylonish empire, or the translation of it to the Medes and Persians, foretold Isaiah 13 Isa 14 Jeremiah 1, and in the dream, Daniel 2:32.
MENE; as for this word, it signifies,
God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it; God had fixed the number of years, how long that monarchy should last, which he was now at the head of, and which was foretold, Jeremiah 25:1, and also the number of years that he should reign over it; and both these numbers were now completed; for that very night Belshazzar was slain, and the kingdom translated to another people: and a dreadful thing it is to be numbered to the sword, famine, and pestilence, or any sore judgment of God for sin, as sometimes men are; so more especially to be appointed to everlasting wrath, and to be numbered among transgressors, among the devils and damned in hell.This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)26. finished it] completed it, given it its full and complete measure of time. Cp. the cognate adj. in Genesis 15:16 (‘full,’ ‘complete’).Isaiah 36:2. - נס נא, try, I beseech thee, thy servants, i.e., try it with us, ten days. Ten, in the decimal system the number of completeness or conclusion, may, according to circumstances, mean a long time or only a proportionally short time. Here it is used in the latter sense, because ten days are sufficient to show the effect of the kind of food on the appearance. זרעים, food from the vegetable kingdom, vegetables, leguminous fruit. Daniel 1:13. מראינוּ is singular, and is used with יראוּ in the plural because two subjects follow. כּאשׁר תּראה, as thou shalt see, viz., our appearance, i.e., as thou shalt then find it, act accordingly. In this proposal Daniel trusted in the help of God, and God did not put his confidence to shame.
(Note: The request is perfectly intelligible from the nature of living faith, without our having recourse to Calvin's supposition, that Daniel had received by secret revelation the assurance that such would be the result if he and his companions were permitted to live on vegetables. The confidence of living faith which hopes in the presence and help of God is fundamentally different from the eager expectation of miraculous interference of a Maccabean Jew, which C. v. Lengerke and other deists and atheists wish to find here in Daniel.)
The youths throve so visibly on the vegetables and water, that the steward relieved them wholly from the necessity of eating from the royal table. Daniel 1:15. בּשׂר בּריאי, fat, well nourished in flesh, is grammatically united to the suffix of מראיהם, from which the pronoun is easily supplied in thought. Daniel 1:16. נשׂא, took away equals no more gave.
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