Daniel 5:9
Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonished.
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(9) The terror of Belshazzar and his lords is caused by the impression that the inability of the wise men to read the inscription is the portent of some terrible calamity.

5:1-9 Belshazzar bade defiance to the judgments of God. Most historians consider that Cyrus then besieged Babylon. Security and sensuality are sad proofs of approaching ruin. That mirth is sinful indeed, which profanes sacred things; and what are many of the songs used at modern feasts better than the praises sung by the heathens to their gods! See how God struck terror upon Belshazzar and his lords. God's written word is enough to put the proudest, boldest sinner in a fright. What we see of God, the part of the hand that writes in the book of the creatures, and in the book of the Scriptures, should fill us with awful thoughts concerning that part which we do not see. If this be the finger of God, what is his arm when made bare? And what is He? The king's guilty conscience told him that he had no reason to expect any good news from heaven. God can, in a moment, make the heart of the stoutest sinner to tremble; and there needs no more than to let loose his own thoughts upon him; they will give him trouble enough. No bodily pain can equal the inward agony which sometimes seizes the sinner in the midst of mirth, carnal pleasures, and worldly pomp. Sometimes terrors cause a man to flee to Christ for pardon and peace; but many cry out for fear of wrath, who are not humbled for their sins, and who seek relief by lying vanities. The ignorance and uncertainty concerning the Holy Scriptures, shown by many who call themselves wise, only tend to drive sinners to despair, as the ignorance of these wise men did.Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled - Not doubting that this was a Divine intimation of some fearful event, and yet unable to understand its meaning. We are quite as likely to be troubled by what is merely "mysterious" in regard to the future - by anything that gives us some undefined foreboding - as we are by what is really formidable when we know what it is. In the latter case, we know the worst; we can make some preparation for it; we can feel assured that when that is past, all is past that we fear - but who can guard himself, or prepare himself, when what is dreaded is undefined as well as awful; when we know not how to meet it, or how long it may endure, or how terrific and wide may be the sweep of its desolation?

And his countenance was changed in him - Margin, "brightnesses." See the note at Daniel 5:6.

And his lords were astonied - Amazed. The Chaldee word means to perplex, disturb, trouble. They were doubtless as much perplexed and troubled as the king himself.

8. The words were in such a character as to be illegible to the Chaldees, God reserving this honor to Daniel. The second time, because his hopes in his wise men made him ashamed, and God would give him so much grief as he had pleasure in his luxury.

His lords were astonied: these were associates in sinning, and therefore must share in his consternation: so far were they from comforting him. Then was King Belshazzar greatly troubled,.... A second time, and perhaps more than before; since he had conceived some hope that his wise men would have informed him what this writing was, and the meaning of it; but finding that they were nonplussed by it, it gave him still greater uneasiness:

and his countenance was changed in him; again; very likely, upon the coming in of the wise men, he had a little recovered himself, and became more composed and serene; which appeared in his countenance; but, upon this disappointment, his countenance changed again, and he turned pale, and looked ghastly:

and his lords were astonished; were in the utmost consternation and confusion, when they understood that the writing could neither be read nor interpreted; neither the dignity of their station, nor their numbers, nor their liquor, could keep up their spirits; so that the king had not one with him, to speak a comfortable word to him, or give him any advice in this his time of distress; they were all in the same condition with himself.

Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.
9. greatly troubled] greatly alarmed,—a climax upon Daniel 5:6.

and his brightness was changed upon him] ‘upon’ in accordance with the principle explained on Daniel 2:1.

were astonied] were confused or (R.V.) perplexed.Verse 9. - Then was King Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied. This verse presents signs also of being a repetition. The last clause appears to be the original form of the mysterious clause at the end of the sixth verse according to the Septuagint; the word mishtabsheen, which occurs here, seems to have been read mishtabhareen, from שַׁבְהַר (shab'har), "to be glorious," in the ittaphel; this becomes "to boast one's self," as in the Targum of Proverbs 25:14, also the Peshitta of the same passage; also 2 Corinthians 12:1. And this is the word used by Paulus Tellensis to translate καυχῶνται. The Septuagint has a verse here that has no equivalent in the Massoretic text, "Then the king called the queen about the sign, and showed her how great it was, and that no one had been able to declare to the king the interpretation of the writing." This verse avoids the repetition we find in the Massoretic text, and explains the presence of the queen in a much more plausible way than the received text does. In the Massoretic text it is the noise and tumult that pierces the women's apartments, and brings out the queen-mother; though not impossible, this is unlikely. The action of the king, as given in the Septuagint, is very probable. The wise men are baffled by this mysteriously appearing inscription. What is to be done? Belshazzar calls his mother, the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, as she at least possibly was, to see if she knows anything in the past that might be a guide in such a matter. He not only shows her the sign, the inscription, but shows how great it was, by telling of the hand that had come out of the darkness, and had written it. Theodotion and the Peshitta agree with the Massoretic text. While the repetition is obvious, it is also true that the failure of all the wise men in Babylon to read the writing, as the Massoretic text has it, would increase the trouble of the king, and this trouble would naturally spread to the courtiers. Size, Gates, and Name of the City

To complete the whole picture of the future land of Israel, what has been stated in Ezekiel 48:15 and Ezekiel 48:16 concerning the size of the holy city is still further expanded here. - Ezekiel 48:30. And these are the outgoings of the city from the north side, four thousand and five hundred (rods) measurement. Ezekiel 48:31. And the gates of the city according to the names of the tribes of Israel: three gates toward the north; the gate of Reuben one, the gate of Judah one, the gate of Levi one. EZechariah 48:32. And on the east side four thousand five hundred (rods): and three gates; namely, the gate of Joseph one, the gate of Benjamin one, the gate of Dan one. EZechariah 48:33. And to the south side, four thousand five hundred measurement: and three gates; the gate of Simeon one, the gate of Issachar one, the gate of Zebulon one. Ezekiel 48:34. To the west side, four thousand five hundred - their gates three; the gate of Gad one, the gate of Asher one, the gate of Naphtali one. Ezekiel 48:35. Round about, eighteen thousand (rods); and the name of the city: from henceforth Jehovah there. - The situation of the city of God within the terumah and its external dimensions have already been generally indicated in Ezekiel 48:15, Ezekiel 48:16. Here the measurement of the several sides is specified with a notice of their gates, and this is preceded by the heading, "the outlets of the city." תּוצאת, the outgoings (not extensions, for the word never has this meaning) as the furthest extremities in which a city or a tract of land terminates; not outlets or gates, which are expressly distinguished from them, but outgoing sides; hence the definition of the extent or length of the several sides is appended immediately afterwards. The enumeration commences, as above in the case of the land, with the north side. Each side has three gates, so that the whole city has twelve, which bear the names of the twelve tribes, like the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem in Revelation 21:12, because it will be the city of the true people of God. Levi is included here, and consequently Ephraim and Manasseh are united in the one tribe of Joseph. The three sons of Leah commence the series with the northern gates. They also stand first in the blessing of Moses in Deuteronomy 33:6-8 : the first-born in age, the first-born by virtue of the patriarchal blessing, and the one chosen by Jehovah for His own service in the place of the first-born. Then follow, for the eastern gates, the two sons of Rachel, according to their age (thus deviating from Deuteronomy 33:12 and Deuteronomy 33:13), and, along with them, the elder son of Rachel's maid; for the southern gates, the three other sons of Leah; and lastly, for the western gates, the three other sons of the maids. Being thus indicated by the names of its gates as the city of all Israel, the city itself receives a name, which exalts it into the city of God (Jehovah). But different explanations have been given of the words in Ezekiel 48:35 which refer to this name. The allusion in מיום and the meaning of שׁמּה are both disputed points. It is true that the latter literally means "thither;" but Ezekiel also uses it as synonymous with שׁם, "there," in Ezekiel 23:3 and Ezekiel 32:29-30, so that the assertion that שׁמּה never means "there" is incorrect. מיום, from day forward, equivalent to henceforward; but not henceforth and for ever, though this may be implied in the context. Whether מיום be taken in connection with the preceding words, "the name of the city will henceforward be," or with those which follow, the name of the city will be, "henceforward Jehovah there," makes no material difference so far as the thought is concerned, as the city can only bear the name from the time when Jehovah is שׁמּה, and can only bear it so long as Jehovah is שׁמּה. But so far as the question is concerned, whether שׁמּה signifies thither or there in this passage, Hvernick is of opinion, indeed, that the whole of Ezekiel's vision does not harmonize with the meaning "there," inasmuch as he separates temple and city, so that Jehovah does not properly dwell in Jerusalem, but, in the strictest an highest sense, in His sanctuary, and turns thence to Jerusalem with the fulness of His grace and love. But if Jehovah does not merely direct His love toward the city from afar off, but, as Hvernick still further says, turns it fully toward it, causes His good pleasure to rest upon it, then He also rules and is in the city with His love, so that it can bear the name "Jehovah thither (there)." In any case, the interpretation, "Jehovah will from henceforth proceed thither, to restore it, to make it a holy city" (Kliefoth), is untenable; for the name is not given to Jerusalem when lying waste, but to the city already restored and fully built, which Ezekiel sees in the spirit. He has therefore before this turned His favour once more to Jerusalem, which was laid waste; and the name יהוה שׁמּה, given to the new Jerusalem, can only affirm that henceforward it is to be a city of Jehovah, i.e., that from this time forth Jehovah will be and rule in her. The rendering "Jehovah thither" does not answer to this, but only the rendering, "Jehovah will be there." compare Isaiah 60:14, where Jerusalem is called the city of Jehovah, Zion of the Holy One in Israel, because the glory of Jehovah has risen over her as a brilliant light.

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