Daniel 5:28
PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.Peres - In Daniel 5:25 this is "Upharsin." These are but different forms of the same word - the word in Daniel 5:25 being in the plural, and here in the singular. The verb (פרס peras) means, to "divide;" and in this form, as in the previous cases, it is, according to Gesenius, participle meaning "divided." As it stands here, it would be applicable to anything that was "divided" or "sundered" - whether a kingdom, a palace, a house, territory, etc. "What" was divided could be known only by Divine revelation. If the "word" had been understood by Belshazzar, undoubtedly it would have suggested the idea that there was to be some sort of division or sundering, but what that was to be would not be indicated by the mere use of the word. Perhaps to an affrighted imagination there might have been conveyed the idea that there would be a revolt in some of the provinces of the empire, and that a part would be rent away, but it would not have occurred that it would be so rent that the whole would pass under the dominion of a foreign power. Josephus ("Ant." b. x. ch. xi. Section 3) says, that the word "Phares in the Greek tongue means a "fragment," κλασμα klasma - God will, therefore, break thy kingdom in pieces, and divide it among the Medes and Persians."

Thy kingdom is divided - That is, the proper interpretation of this communication is, that the kingdom is about to be rent asunder, or broken into fragments. It is to be separated or torn from the dynasty that has ruled over it, and to be given to another.

And given to the Medes and Persians - On this united kingdom, see the notes at Isaiah 13:17. It was "given" to the Medes and Persians when it was taken by Cyrus, and when the kingdom of Babylon became extinct, and thenceforward became a part of the Medo-Persian empire. See the notes at Isaiah 13:17, Isaiah 13:19.

28. Peres—the explanation of "dividers" (Da 5:25), the active participle plural there being used for the passive participle singular, "dividers" for "divided." The word "Peres" alludes to the similar word "Persia."

divided—namely, among the Medes and Persians [Maurer]; or, "severed" from thee [Grotius].

Separated, divided, broken.

Peres signifies two things,

broken off, and

Persian; noting, first, That this kingdom was broken from Belshazzar, and his line and family. Secondly, That it was given from the Chaldeans to the Persians. Then it was divided between the Medes and Persians; for Cyrus took Babylon, he was a Persian; after that he gave part of it to Darius his son-in-law, and he was a Mede; and so they were as it were partners. So this vast empire, that was one sole, entire thing under Belshazzar, becomes now as it were two, divided betwixt the Medes and Persians, which thing is curious to observe, from this word

Phars, Pharsin, Peres, which signifies not only dividing, but

Persian, as Pliny testifies. With the Chaldeans, the Persians, in Scripture, are called Elamites.

PERES,.... The singular of "Pharsin", Daniel 5:25. The sense of this word is,

thy kingdom is divided: which, though it consisted of various provinces, united under Belshazzar, now should be broken and separated from him:

and given to the Medes and Persians; to Darius the Mede, and to Cyrus the Persian, who was a partner for a while with his uncle Darius in the government of the empire: there is an elegant play on words in the words "Peres" and "Persians"; and a grievous thing it is to sinners, not only to have body and soul divided at death, but to be divided and separated from God to all eternity; and to hear that sentence, "depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels".

PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
28. the Medes and Persians] See on Daniel 5:31.

Daniel 5:28Daniel 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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