Daniel 5:29
Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Daniel 5:29. Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel — The king was so struck with his superior wisdom, and conceived himself so bound by the promise he had made before his nobles, that he ordered the prophet to be rewarded immediately with the honours he had promised him, which he was forced to accept, and which probably prepared him for a more easy reception by the succeeding monarch. “Nor let it be matter of wonder that Daniel is said to be clothed as it were immediately, for these habits were always at hand for the eastern monarchs to reward their friends or favourites with; and Mr. Harmer tells us, from Sir John Chardin, that the kings of Persia have great wardrobes, where there are always many hundreds of habits ready, designed for presents, and sorted. — Obs., vol. 2. p. 87. It seems likewise that, on some occasions, the great men of the East were accustomed to carry with them, on their journeys, a variety of habits and vestments, in order to distribute them as presents to those whom they wished to honour and reward. And this will account for the changes of garments which Naaman the Syrian had with him, when he returned from the Prophet Elisha, some of which were given to his perfidious servant, 2 Kings 5.” — Wintle. 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.Then commanded Belshazzar - In compliance with his promise, Daniel 5:16. Though the interpretation had been so fearful in its import, and though Daniel had been so plain and faithful with him, yet he did not hesitate to fulfill his promise. It is a remarkable instance of the result of fidelity, that a proud monarch should have received such a reproof, and such a prediction in this manner, and it is an encouragement to us to do our duty, and to state the truth plainly to wicked men. Their own consciences testify to them that it is the truth, and they will see the truth so clearly that they cannot deny it.

And they clothed Daniel with scarlet ... - All this, it would seem, was transacted in a single night, and it has been made an objection, as above remarked, to the authenticity of the book, that such events are said to have occurred in so short a space of time, and that Daniel should have been so soon clothed with the robes of office. On this objection, see Introduction to the chapter, Section I. II. In respect to the latter part of the objection, it may be here further remarked, that it was not necessary to "fit" him with a suit of clothes made expressly for the occasion, for the loose, flowing robes of the Orientals were as well adapted to one person as another, and in the palaces of kings such garments were always on hand. See Harmer's "Observations on the East," vol. ii. 392, following. Compare Rosenmuller, "Morgenland, in loc."

That he should be the third ruler ... - See the notes at Daniel 5:7.

29. Belshazzar … clothed Daniel with scarlet—To come from the presence of a prince in a dress presented to the wearer as a distinction is still held a great honor in the East. Daniel was thus restored to a similar rank to what he had held under Nebuchadnezzar (Da 2:48). Godly fidelity which might be expected to bring down vengeance, as in this case, is often rewarded even in this life. The king, having promised, was ashamed before his courtiers to break his word. He perhaps also affected to despise the prophecy of his doom, as an idle threat. As to Daniel's reasons for now accepting what at first he had declined, compare Note, see on [1091]Da 5:17. The insignia of honor would be witnesses for God's glory to the world of his having by God's aid interpreted the mystic characters. The cause of his elevation too would secure the favor of the new dynasty (Da 6:2) for both himself and his captive countrymen. As the capture of the city by Cyrus was not till near daylight, there was no want of time in that eventful night for accomplishing all that is here recorded. The capture of the city so immediately after the prophecy of it (following Belshazzar's sacrilege), marked most emphatically to the whole world the connection between Babylon's sin and its punishment. Though it were a sad unwelcome message to him, yet he would be as good as his word, and performed his promise; for his princes were witnesses to it, and the word of those kings was counted sacred; besides, it was a great thing that Daniel had unfolded, all were convinced of it as well as the king.

Quest. But how comes Daniel to accept that now, which he seemed to refuse before, Daniel 5:17?

Answ. He refused before lest he should seem to prophesy for reward, which was dishonourable; now it is as it were forced upon him, for the king commanded it, and there is as much danger and crime with some in refusing a favour as boldness in begging. Then commanded Belshazzar,.... As soon as he had heard the writing read and interpreted; instead of being full of wrath, as might have been expected, he orders the reward promised to be given, to show he had a regard to his word and honour, as a king; and to secure his credit with his nobles and people; and perhaps he might not understand, by Daniel's interpretation, that the destruction of him and his kingdom was so near at hand as it was; or he might put this evil day far from him, and hope it might be prevented:

and they clothed Daniel with scarlet; the king's servants by his orders: or,

that they should clothe Daniel with scarlet (a); these were his orders; but whether executed is not certain; probably not, since the king was slain the same night; and so the rest of the clauses may be read,

and should put a chain of gold about his neck, and should make proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom; all which was the reward promised to him that should read and interpret the writing, Daniel 5:7, but that this was done, the king's death being so sudden, does not appear; and therefore it is needless to inquire the reasons of Daniel's acceptance after his refusal.

(a) "ut induerent", Gejerus.

Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
29. Belshazzar fulfils the promise given in Daniel 5:16. The unconcern exhibited by the king at Daniel’s interpretation, especially in presence of what (as Daniel 5:30 shews) could hardly have been a distant or unsuspected danger, is scarcely consistent with historical probability.

scarlet] purple, as Daniel 5:7; Daniel 5:16.

that he should be ruler as one of three in the kingdom] See on Daniel 5:7.Verse 29. - Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. The Septuagint runs thus: "Then Baltasar the king clothed Daniel in purple, and put on him a golden necklace, and gave authority to him over a third part of his kingdom." The only difference here is that there is no word of a proclamation. Theodotion and the Peshitta agree with the Massoretic text. We have תַּלְתָא here instead of תַּלְתִּי. The presence of the haphel form instead of the aphel, is to be noted. No reader whose attention is directed to it can fail to be struck with the magnanimity of Belshazzar; he had promised that whoever would interpret the inscription should be clothed in purple and gold, and be made third ruler of the kingdom. Had he been a mean man, he might have higgled about the matter; he might have declared an uncertainty as to whether Daniel did not, out of his spite against the murderers of the son of Nebuchadnezzar, invent the evil interpretation. The treatment Ahab meted out to Micaiah the son of Imlah sows the way a tyrannical monarch may a-t towards one who has uttered unpalatable prophecies against him. He might, according to the Persian story, have proclaimed Daniel exalted to all the promised honors, and then instantly had him executed. But, no; in noble simplicity he fulfils his promise to the last letter, without any apparent after-thought of vengeance. If Belshazzar is intended to represent Antiochus Epiphanes, certainly the portrait is singularly unlike anything we know of that monarch. Cruel and. treacherous, he was very unlikely to keep such a promise to one who had made such a prophecy concerning him. Even if lie could have done so, no Jew, with blood boiling from the indignities and cruelties heaped upon the Jewish race, could have pictured him doing this. Even the natural instinct that makes us think that specially terrible misfortune must be the result of specially unbroken wickedness, would certainly have led the writer of Daniel, if drawing on his imagination, to make Belshazzar meanly refuse his rewards, or, having given them, to threaten the receiver with death. It is no answer to say, with Ewald and Jephet-ibn-Ali. that the reward once promised was irrevocable, for the accuracy of the reading of the writing might have been contested, and the correctness of the interpretation denied. Further, as has been pointed out by Keil, there is no evidence that Epiphanes ever desecrated the sacred vessels at a banquet; he was regardless enough to have done so, but his financial necessities were too pressing for delaying the coining of these golden treasures. Moreover, in Antiochus such desecration would be without purpose, whereas, as we have seen, there might be a purpose in the action of Belshazzar. The idea maintained by commentators of the critical school, that there in any reference in the description given here of the feast of Belshazzar and its results to the feast which Antiochus gave to the peel,In of Antioch, as described by Polybius, 26, is mere nonsense. The ponts of contrast are vastly more prominent than the points of resemblance. Belshazzar's feast is over in one night; Antiochus's feast lasted several days. Belshazzar's feast was given in his palace, to "a thousand of his lords;" Antiochus invited the whole populace of Antioch to revel in the grove of Daphne. While, as we have seen, there is blasphemy against Jehovah and defiance of him in Belshazzar's feast, there in no kind of debauchery. In regard to the feast of Antiochus, on the other hand, while there is maddest excess of every kind, a very orgy of lust and drunkenness, there is no word, either in Polybius or in the Books of the Maccabees, of any special act of defiance to Jehovah, or blasphemy of his Name. The only point of identity is that both the banquet of Belshazzar and the orgy of Antiochus have been called "feasts." Altogether, the idea that Belshazzar represents Antiochus Epiphanes is nearly as absurd as that Nebuchadnezzar does. Did the orthodox interpretation involve such an identification, what boundless scorn would be poured on the unfortunate maintainers of such a view? After the expiry of the period of three years the youths were brought before the king. They were examined by him, and these four were found more intelligent and discriminating than all the others that had been educated along with them (מכּלּם, "than all," refers to the other Israelitish youths, Daniel 1:3, that had been brought to Babylon along with Daniel and his friends), and were then appointed to his service. יעמדוּ, as in Daniel 1:5, of standing as a servant before his master. The king found them indeed, in all matters of wisdom about which he examined them, to excel all the wise men in the whole of his kingdom. Of the two classes of the learned men of Chaldea, who are named instar omnium in Daniel 1:20, see at Daniel 2:2.
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