Daniel 6:18
Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep went from him.
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(18) Instruments of musick.—A word of very doubtful meaning. The root whence it is derived means to rejoice, but what is signified cannot be exactly ascertained.

Daniel 6:18-20. Then the king went to his palace — Vexed at himself for what he had done, and calling himself unwise and unjust for not adhering to the laws of God and nature, notwithstanding the law of the Medes and Persians; and passed the night fasting — His heart was so full of grief and fear, that he could eat no supper, nor take any kind of refreshment. Neither were instruments of music brought before him — In which, amidst his present distress and trouble, he could take no pleasure. “No doubt Daniel spent a far more pleasant night among the lions, while employed in fervent prayer, and admiring, grateful praise, than either his malicious persecutors, or the king himself,” whose solicitude about Daniel made him very unhappy, and effectually prevented him from closing his eyes in sleep. The king arose very early in the morning — Full of anxiety about Daniel; and went in haste unto the lions’ den — Concerned to know whether the faint hope he entertained of his preservation had been realized. And when he came to the den — The LXX. render it, εν τω εγγιζειν αυτον τω λακκω, in his approaching the den, or, when he came near to the den, as Wintle renders it; he cried with a lamentable, or doleful, voice unto Daniel — Longing to know whether he was yet alive, and yet trembling to ask the question, lest he should be answered by the roaring of the lions after more prey; O Daniel, servant of the living God — Here Darius makes an acknowledgment, that the God whom Daniel served was the true and living God, not an imaginary and fictitious deity. Nebuchadnezzar made the same confession more than once; but neither of these kings had courage to renounce the worship of the false and fictitious deities of their country. Is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee, &c. — That is, has he been able to deliver thee, or has he thought fit in this case to exert his power? What he doubted of, we are sure of, that the servants of the living God have a master who is well able to deliver and protect them; and who will assuredly do both the one and the other, as far as he sees will be for their good and for his glory.6:18-24 The best way to have a good night, is to keep a good conscience. We are sure of what the king doubted, that the servants of the living God have a Master well able to protect them. See the power of God over the fiercest creatures, and believe his power to restrain the roaring lion that goeth about continually seeking to devour. Daniel was kept perfectly safe, because he believed in his God. Those who boldly and cheerfully trust in God to protect them in the way of duty, shall always find him a present help. Thus the righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead. The short triumph of the wicked will end in their ruin.Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting - Daniel was probably cast into the den soon after the going down of the sun, Daniel 6:14. It was not unusual to have suppers then late at night, as it is now in many places. The great anxiety of the king, however, on account of what had occurred, prevented him from participating in the usual evening meal. As to the probability of what is here affirmed, no one can have any doubt who credits the previous statements. In the consciousness of wrong done to a worthy officer of the government; in the deep anxiety which he had to deliver him; in the excitement which must have existed against the cunning and wicked authors of the plot to deceive the king and to ruin Daniel; and in his solicitude and hope that after all Daniel might escape, there is a satisfactory reason for the facts stated that he had no desire for food; that instruments of music were not brought before him; and that he passed a sleepless night.

Neither were instruments of music brought before him - It was usual among the ancients to have music at their meals. This custom prevailed among the Greeks and Romans, and doubtless was common in the Oriental world. It should be observed, however, that there is considerable variety in the interpretation of the word here rendered instruments of music - דחון dachăvân. The margin is table. The Latin Vulgate, "He slept supperless, neither was food brought before him." The Greek renders it "food," ἐδέσματα edesmata. So the Syriac. Bertholdt and Gesenius render it concubines, and Saadias dancing girls. Any of these significations would be appropriate; but it is impossible to determine which is the most correct. The word does not occur elsewhere in the Scriptures.

18. neither were instruments of music, &c.—Gesenius translates, "concubines." Daniel's mentioning to us as an extraordinary thing of Darius, that he neither approached his table nor his harem, agrees with Xenophon's picture of him as devoted to wine and women, vain, and without self-control. He is sorry for the evil which he himself had caused, yet takes no steps to remedy it. There are many such halters between good and bad, who are ill at ease in their sins, yet go forward in them, and are drawn on by others. Passed the night fasting; yea, and without instruments of music and sleep. The king was in perplexity, he was under great conviction that he had done very dishonourably and cruelly, by hearkening to the counsel of his wicked courtiers; he should have rescinded his rash decree, and rated them for their barbarity against Daniel, and have overruled them, and let him out; he is convinced of all this, and grieves for it, but to little purpose. Many are displeased with themselves for their vices, yet are drawn away with them; and, upon a point of honour, or other carnal ground, never come to true repentance, which consists in a change of heart and life. Herod was like troubled for John Baptist, but for all that, for his oath’s sake to a wanton wretch, and for the company’s sake, he sent and beheaded him, Matthew 14:9. Then the king went to his palace,.... After he had accompanied Daniel to the den, and he was cast into it, the stone was laid to the mouth of it, and that sealed; this was after sunset, for he had laboured till then to serve him, Daniel 6:14, perhaps it was late at night:

and passed the night fasting; vexed for what he had done, in signing the decree; fretting because he could not save Daniel, and his heart full of grief for him, and so had no stomach to eat; went to bed without his supper, lay all night fasting, and would not eat a bit nor drink a drop of anything:

neither were instruments of music brought before him; as used to be after supper, and played upon; his heart was too full, and his mind and thoughts so intent on Daniel's case, that he could not listen to music, or bear the sound of it. Jarchi interprets it a "table", to sit down at, and eat, being furnished and well served, as was usual; but this is implied in the preceding clause. Aben Ezra, Saadiah, and Jacchiades, explain by songs and musical instruments, harps and psalter and Saadiah adds, girls to sing and dance. De Dieu, from the use of the word in the Arabic language, thinks that incense is meant, which was used at feasts, and in the palaces of princes.

And his sleep went from him; while he was up he could take no pleasure in eating and drinking, and hearing music; and when he was in bed, he could not sleep for thinking what he had done, and what was the case of Daniel.

Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him.
18. instruments of musick] The meaning of the word thus rendered is unknown. The root in Aram. and Heb. means to thrust, overthrow (Psalm 36:12; Psalm 118:13). In Arab. it means further to spread, spread out, and is also used specially in the sense compressit feminam. The ancient translators and commentators conjectured a meaning suited to the context. Theod. (ἐδέσματα), Pesh., Jerome (cibi), render food; Rashi (12 cent.), a table (cf. A.V. marg.); Ibn Ezra, stringed instruments (supposing, improbably, to thrust to be used in the sense of to strike); Saad. (10 cent.), dancing-girls; many moderns (from the Arab. meaning of the root, mentioned above), concubines. But it is very doubtful whether it is legitimate to explain an Aram. word from a sense peculiar to Arabic, and there, moreover, only secondary and derived. By assuming a very small corruption in the text (דחון for לחנן), we should, however, obtain the ordinary Aram. word for concubines (Daniel 5:2-3; Daniel 5:23): so Marti, Prince. But whatever the true meaning, or reading, of the word may be, the general sense of the verse remains the same: the king did not indulge in his usual diversions.

fled (R.V.) from him] lit. fled upon him: in accordance with the idiom explained on Daniel 2:1. For ‘fled’ cf. Genesis 31:40; Esther 6:1.Verse 18. - Then the king went to his palace. and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep went from him. In the Massoretic text one of the clauses, "Neither were instruments of music brought before him," has caused great difficulty. The word dahvan, translated "instruments of music," is rendered by Furst, "dancing-girl; "Gesenius, "concubine; "Rosenmuller renders, "odours." The Mediaeval Greek Version translates, "instruments of music." Furst speaks with favour of the Syriac rendering, "food-tables." Han'ayl, the aphel of 'eilal, has to be noted as a sign of antiquity. The version of the Septuagint is very wide from the Massoretic in the latter part of the verse, "Thus the king returned to his palace, and went to bed fasting, being grieved about Daniel." It is evident that the Septuagint translator had before him deheel instead of dohvan - nun in the script of Egyptian Aramaic is very like lamed in the later mode writing, as also yodh and vav. It is possible that the name "Daniel" was read han'eel or, vies versa, as two of the letters are identical If we can accept the Septuagint reading, the difficulty of this mysterious dahoun disappears. Another clause is added here in the Septuagint from ver. 22 (23) Massoretic, though with variations. "Then the God of Daniel, taking thought for him (πρόνοιαν ποιούμενος αὐτοῦ) closed the mouths of the lions, that they did not hurt Daniel." This statement is not inserted in Daniel's answer to the king in the Septuagint, as it is in the Massoretic text. It would almost seem that our present text in both cases is a condensation of a more extended document. This view receives support from the rendering of Theodotion, "And the king departed to his house, and went to bed supperless, and viands were not brought to him, and his sleep went from him, and God closed the mouths of the lions, and they did not hurt Daniel." It will be seen that the last clause here agrees with the concluding clause of the Septuagint. The mysterious word dahvan is rendered here "food" (ἐδέσματα) - a version that is suspicious from the fact that it merely repeats, under another form, the statement that the king went to bed fasting. It is supported by the Peshitta and the Vulgate. This difference can scarcely be due to a various reading. Otherwise the Peshitta and the Vulgate agree with the Massoretic text. The king's sorrow and humiliation could not be better pictured than it is here: even the feast of the palace had no pleasure for him, he was so grieved about Daniel. But we must also bear in mind that fasting had among the Jews, and, indeed, in the East generally, a relationship to prayer (see Esther 4:16, where fasting takes the place of prayer; see also Daniel 10:3). It means also repentance (Jonah 3:6-8). Darius, then, repented his hasty decree, and prayed for the deliverance of Daniel. With להחויה וּפשׁרא the construction is changed. This passage does not depend on דּי, time, namely, to show the interpretation (Hitz.), but is co-ordinate with the foregoing relative clause, and like it is dependent on וּבעא. The change of the construction is caused by the circumstance that in the last passage another subject needed to be introduced: The king should give him time, and Daniel will show the interpretation. The copulative וbefore פשׁרא (interpretation) is used neither explicatively, namely, and indeed, nor is it to be taken as meaning also; the simple and is sufficient, although the second part of the request contains the explanation and reason of the first; i.e., Daniel asks for the granting of a space, not that he might live longer, but that he might be able to interpret the dream to the king. Besides, that he merely speaks of the meaning of the dream, and not also of the dream itself, is, as Daniel 2:25. show, to be here explained (as in Daniel 2:24) as arising from the brevity of the narrative. For the same reason it is not said that the king granted the quest, but Daniel 2:17. immediately shows what Daniel did after the granting of his request. He went into his own house and showed the matter to his companions, that they might entreat God of His mercy for this secret, so that they might not perish along with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
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