Daniel 5:26
This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
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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.This is the interpretation of the thing - It may seem not to have been difficult to interpret the meaning of the communication, when one was able to read the words, or when the sense of the words was understood. But, if the words are placed together, and considered in their abstract form, the whole communication would be so enigmatical that the interpretation would not be likely to occur to anyone without a Divine guidance. This will appear more clearly by arranging the words together, as has been done by Hales:

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.

26. God hath fixed the number of years of thine empire, and that number is now complete. 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.

This is the interpretation of the thing,.... Or, "word" (z); for they might all seem as one word; or this is the sense of the whole:

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.

(z) "sermonis", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus; "verborum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Broughtonus; "verbi", Cocceius; "illius verbi", Michaelis.

This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
26. finished it] completed it, given it its full and complete measure of time. Cp. the cognate adj. in Genesis 15:16 (‘full,’ ‘complete’).

Daniel 5:26Daniel now read the writing (Daniel 5:25), and gave its interpretation (Daniel 5:26-28). The writing bears the mysterious character of the oracle. פּרס, תּקל, מנא (Daniel 5:28) are partic. Piel, and the forms תּקל and פּרס, instead of תּקיל and פּריס, are chosen on account of their symphony with מנא. פּרסין is generally regarded as partic. plur., but that would be פּרסין; it much rather appears to be a noun form, and plur. of פּרס equals Hebr. פּרס (cf. פּרסיהן, Zechariah 11:16), in the sense of broken pieces, fragments, for פרס signifies to divide, to break in pieces, not only in the Hebr. (cf. Leviticus 11:4; Isaiah 58:7; Psalm 69:32), but also in the Chald., 2 Kings 4:39 (Targ.), although in the Targg. The meaning to spread out prevails. In all the three words there lies a double sense, which is brought out in the interpretation. מנא, for the sake of the impression, or perhaps only of the parallelism, is twice given, so as to maintain two members of the verse, each of two words. In the numbering lies the determination and the completion, or the conclusion of a manner, a space of time. Daniel accordingly interprets מנא thus: God has numbered (מנה for מנא, perf. act.) thy kingdom, i.e., its duration or its days, והשׁלמהּ, and has finished it, i.e., its duration is so counted out that it is full, that it now comes to an end. In תּקל there lies the double sense that the word תּקל, to weigh, accords with the Niphal of קלל, to be light, to be found light (cf. תּקל, Genesis 16:4). The interpretation presents this double meaning: Thou art weighed in the balances (תּקלתּא) and art found too light (like the תּקל). חסּיר, wanting in necessary weight, i.e., deficient in moral worth. תּקלתּא, a perf. formed from the partic. Piel; cf. Winer, 13, 2. As to the figure of the balance, cf. Job 31:6; Psalm 62:10 (9).

For פּרסין (Daniel 5:25) Daniel uses in the interpretation the sing. פּרס, which, after the analogy of תּקל, may be regarded as partic. Piel, and he interprets it accordingly, so that he brings out, along with the meaning lying in the word, also the allusion to פּרס, Persian: thy kingdom is divided, or broken into pieces, and given to the Medes and Persians. The meaning is not that the kingdom was to be divided into two equal parts, and the one part given to the Medes and the other to the Persians; but פרס is to divide into pieces, to destroy, to dissolve the kingdom. This shall be effected by the Medes and Persians, and was so brought about when the Persian Cyrus with the united power of the Medes and Persians destroyed Babylon, and thus put an end to the Chaldean kingdom, whereby the kingdom was transferred first to the Median Darius (Daniel 6:1 [Daniel 5:31]), and after him to the Persian Cyrus. In the naming of the Median before the Persian there lies, as already remarked in the Introduction, a notable proof of the genuineness of this narrative, and with it of the whole book; for the hegemony of the Medes was of a very short duration, and after its overthrow by the Persians the form of expression used is always "Persians and Medes," as is found in the book of Esther.

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