Daniel 7:25 Commentaries: 'He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.
Daniel 7:25
And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) And he shall speak.—The marks of identification of the little horn are—(1) blasphemy of God; (2) persecution and affliction of the saints; (3) attempts, apparently ineffectual (he will “think to change”), against all institutions, whether of Divine or human authority: in short, a general spirit of lawlessness and unbelief. It appears that the little horn, the Antichrist of the last days, or the beast, will be successful for a time in his blasphemies and persecutions, but in the end he will be destroyed. (See 2Thessalonians 2:8.)

Time and times and the dividing of time.—This is frequently explained to mean three years and a half. Those who adopt this explanation assume that by “times” a dual is implied, which in Chaldee is represented by the plural. They next assume that by “a time” is meant one year, resting their assumption partly on Daniel 4:16, and partly on a comparison of Daniel 12:7 with Revelation 13:5; Revelation 11:2-3. This gives a sum of three years and a half, which is interpreted either literally, or explained to mean half a sabbatical period, or half some divinely-appointed period symbolised by the number “seven.” According to the second interpretation, Daniel teaches us that the days of tribulation shall be shortened (Matthew 24:22). But it may be questioned whether “years” are intended in Daniel 4:16. Also the language in Daniel 12:7 is very obscure. A more correct view of the prediction is that the reign of Antichrist will be divided into three periods—the first long, the second longer, the third shortest of all. It also appears that the last is to be the severest time of trial. It may be remarked that in Daniel 9 the seventy weeks are divided into three periods, forming a similar series, 7 + 62 + 1 = 70.

Daniel 7:25. He shall speak great words against the Most High — Symmachus reads, He shall speak great words, as the Most High; “setting himself above all laws, divine and human: arrogating to himself godlike attributes, and titles of holiness and infallibility; exacting obedience to his ordinances and decrees, in preference to, and in open violation of, reason and Scripture; insulting men and blaspheming God. In Gratian’s Decretals, the pope has the title of God given to him. And shall wear out the saints — By wars, and massacres, and inquisitions, persecuting and destroying the faithful servants of Jesus, and the true worshippers of God; who protest against his innovations, and refuse to comply with the idolatry practised in the Church of Rome. He shall think to change times and laws — Appointing fasts and feasts, canonizing saints, granting pardons and indulgences for sins, instituting new modes of worship, imposing new articles of faith, enjoining new rules of practice, and reversing at pleasure the laws of God and man.” — Bishop Newton.

And they shall be given, &c. — “A time, all agree, signifies a year; and a time, and times, and the dividing of time, or half a time, are three years and a half; and the ancient Jewish year, consisting of twelve months, and each month of thirty days, a time, and times, and half a time, or three years and a half, are reckoned in the Revelation 11:2-3; Revelation 12:6; Revelation 12:14, as equivalent to forty-two months, or twelve hundred and sixty days; and a day, in the style of the prophets, is a year; (see Ezekiel 4:4;) and it is confessed that the seventy weeks, in Daniel 9. are weeks of years, and consequently twelve hundred and sixty days are twelve hundred and sixty years. So long antichrist, or the little horn, will continue: but from what point of time the commencement of these twelve hundred and sixty years is to be dated, is not easy to determine. It should seem that they are to be computed from the full establishment of the power of the pope, and no less is implied in the expression, given into his hand. Now the power of the pope, as a horn, or temporal prince, it hath been shown, was established in the eighth century; and twelve hundred and sixty years from that time, will lead us down to about the year of Christ 2000, or the year of the world 6000: and there is an old tradition, both among Jews and Christians, that at the end of 6000 years the Messiah shall come, and the world shall be renewed; the reign of the wicked one shall cease, and the reign of the saints upon earth shall begin. But, as Irenæus says in a like case, it is surer and safer to wait for the completion of the prophecy than to conjecture and divine about it. When the end shall come, then we shall know better whence to date the beginning.” — Bishop Newton.7:15-28 It is desirable to obtain the right and full sense of what we see and hear from God; and those that would know, must ask by faithful and fervent prayer. The angel told Daniel plainly. He especially desired to know respecting the little horn, which made war with the saints, and prevailed against them. Here is foretold the rage of papal Rome against true Christians. St. John, in his visions and prophecies, which point in the first place at Rome, has plain reference to these visions. Daniel had a joyful prospect of the prevalence of God's kingdom among men. This refers to the second coming of our blessed Lord, when the saints shall triumph in the complete fall of Satan's kingdom. The saints of the Most High shall possess the kingdom for ever. Far be it from us to infer from hence, that dominion is founded on grace. It promises that the gospel kingdom shall be set up; a kingdom of light, holiness, and love; a kingdom of grace, the privileges and comforts of which shall be the earnest and first-fruits of the kingdom of glory. But the full accomplishment will be in the everlasting happiness of the saints, the kingdom that cannot be moved. The gathering together the whole family of God will be a blessedness of Christ's coming.Thus he said ... - That is, in explanation of the fourth symbol which appeared - the fourth beast, and of the events connected with his appearing. This explanation embraces the remainder of the chapter; and as the whole subject appeared difficult and momentous to Daniel before the explanation, so it may be said to be in many respects difficult, and in all respects momentous still. It is a question on which expositors of the Scriptures are by no means agreed, to what it refers, and whether it has been already accomplished, or whether it extends still into the future; and it is of importance, therefore, to determine, if possible, what is its true meaning. The two points of inquiry which are properly before us are, first, What do the words of explanation as used by the angel fairly imply - that is, what, according to the fair interpretation of these words, would be the course of events referred to, or what should we naturally expect to find as actually occurring on the earth in the fulfillment of this? and, secondly, To what events the prophecy is actually to be applied - whether to what has already occurred, or what is yet to occur; whether we can find anything in what is now past which would be an accomplishment of this, or whether it is to be applied to events a part of which are yet future? This will lead us into a statement of the points which it is affirmed would occur in regard to this kingdom: and then into an inquiry respecting the application.

What is fairly implied in the explanation of the angel? This would embrace the following points:

(1) There was to be a fourth kingdom on the earth: "the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth," Daniel 7:23. This was to succeed the other three, symbolized by the lion, the bear, and the leopard. No further reference is made to them, but the characteristics of this are fully stated. Those characteristics, which have been explained in the notes at Daniel 7:7, are, as here repeated,

(a) that it would be in important respects different from the others;

(b) that it would devour, or subdue the whole earth;

(c) that it would tread it down and break it in pieces; that is, it would be a universal dynasty, of a fierce and warlike character, that would keep the whole world subdued and subject by power.

(2) out of this sovereignty or dominion, ten powers would arise Daniel 7:24 : "and the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise." Compare the notes at Daniel 7:7. That is, they would spring out of this one dominion, or it would be broken up into these minor sovereignties, yet all manifestly springing from the one kingdom, and wielding the same power. We should not naturally look for the fulfillment of this in a succession of kings, for that would have been symbolized by the beast itself representing the entire dominion or dynasty, but rather to a number of contemporaneous powers that had somehow sprung out of the one power, or that now possessed and wielded the power of that one dominion. If the kingdom here referred to should be broken up into such a number of powers, or if in any way these powers became possessed of this authority, and wielded it, such a fact would express what we are to expect to find in this kingdom.

(3) From the midst of these sovereignties or kingdoms there was to spring up another one of peculiar characteristics, Daniel 7:24-25. These characteristics are the following:

(a) That it would spring out of the others, or be, as it were, one form of the administration of the same power - as the eleventh horn sprang from the same source as the ten, and we are, therefore, to look for the exercise of this power somehow in connection with the same kingdom or dynasty.

(b) This would not spring up contemporaneously with the ten, but would arise "after them" - and we are to look for the power as in some sense succeeding them.

(c) It would be small at first - as was the horn Daniel 7:8, and we are to look for the fulfillment in some power that would be feeble at first.

(d) It would grow to be a mighty power for the little horn became so powerful as to pluck up three of the others Daniel 7:8, and it is said in the explanation Daniel 7:24, that he would subdue three of the kings.

(e) It would subdue "three kings;" that is, three of the ten, and we are to look for the fulfillment in some manifestation of that power by which, either literally three of them were overthrown, or by which about one-third of their power was taken away. The mention of the exact number of "three," however, would rather seem to imply that we are to expect some such exact fulfillment, or some prostration of three sovereignties by the new power that would arise.

(f) It would be proud, and ambitious, and particularly arrogant against God: "and he shall speak great words against the Most High," Daniel 7:25. The Chaldee here rendered against - לצד letsad - means, literally, at, or against the part of it, and then against. Vulgate contra; Greek πρὸς pros. This would be fulfilled in one who would blaspheme God directly; or who would be rebellious against his government and authority; or who would complain of his administration and laws; or who would give utterance to harsh and reproachful words against his real claims. It would find a fulfillment obviously in an open opposer of the claims and the authority of the true God; or in one the whole spirit and bearing of whose pretensions might be fairly construed as in fact an utterance of great words against him.

continued...

25. Three attributes of Antichrist are specified: (1) The highest worldly wisdom and civilization. (2) The uniting of the whole civilized world under his dominion. (3) Atheism, antitheism, and autotheism in its fullest development (1Jo 2:22). Therefore, not only is power taken from the fourth beast, as in the case of the other three, but God destroys it and the world power in general by a final judgment. The present external Christianity is to give place to an almost universal apostasy.

think—literally, "carry within him as it were the burden of the thought."

change times—the prerogative of God alone (Da 2:21); blasphemously assumed by Antichrist. The "times and laws" here meant are those of religious ordinance; stated times of feasts [Maurer]. Perhaps there are included the times assigned by God to the duration of kingdoms. He shall set Himself above all that is called God (2Th 2:4), putting his own "will" above God's times and laws (Da 11:36, 37). But the "times" of His wilfulness are limited for the elect's sake (Mt 24:22).

they—the saints.

given into his hand—to be persecuted.

time … times and … dividing of time—one year, two years, and half a year: 1260 days (Re 12:6, 14); forty-two months (Re 11:2, 3). That literally three and a half years are to be the term of Antichrist's persecution is favored by Da 4:16, 23, where the year-day theory would be impossible. If the Church, moreover, had been informed that 1260 years must elapse before the second advent, the attitude of expectancy which is inculcated (Lu 12:38; 1Co 1:7; 1Th 1:9, 10; 2Pe 3:12) on the ground of the uncertainty of the time, would be out of place. The original word for "time" denotes a stated period or set feast; or the interval from one set feast to its recurrence, that is, a year [Tregelles]; Le 23:4, "seasons"; Le 23:44, "feasts." The passages in favor of the year-day theory are Eze 4:6, where each day of the forty during which Ezekiel lay on his right side is defined by God as meaning a year. Compare Nu 14:34, where a year of wandering in the wilderness was appointed for each day of the forty during which the spies searched Canaan; but the days were, in these two cases, merely the type or reason for the years, which were announced as they were to be fulfilled. In the prophetic part of Nu 14:34 "years" are literal. If the year-day system was applied to them, they would be 14,400 years! In Eze 4:4-6, if day meant year, Ezekiel would have lain on his right side forty years! The context here in Da 7:24, 25, is not symbolical. Antichrist is no longer called a horn, but a king subduing three out of ten kings (no longer horns, Da 7:7, 8). So in Da 12:7, where "time, times, and half a time," again occurs, nothing symbolic occurs in the context. So that there is no reason why the three and a half years should be so. For the first four centuries the "days" were interpreted literally; a mystical meaning of the 1260 days then began. Walter Brute first suggested the year-day theory in the end of the fourteenth century. The seventy years of the Babylonian captivity foretold by Jeremiah (Jer 25:12; 29:10) were understood by Daniel (Da 9:2) as literal years, not symbolical, which would have been 25,200 years! [Tregelles]. It is possible that the year-day and day-day theories are both true. The seven (symbolical) times of the Gentile monarchies (Le 26:24) during Israel's casting off will end in the seven years of Antichrist. The 1260 years of papal misrule in the name of Christ may be represented by three and a half years of open Antichristianity and persecution before the millennium. Witnessing churches may be succeeded by witnessing individuals, the former occupying the longer, the latter the shorter period (Re 11:3). The beginning of the 1260 years is by Elliott set at A.D. 529 or 533, when Justinian's edict acknowledged Pope John II to be head of the Church; by Luther, at 606, when Phocas confirmed Justinian's grant. But 752 is the most likely date, when the temporal dominion of the popes began by Pepin's grant to Stephen II (for Zachary, his predecessor's recognition of his title to France), confirmed by Charlemagne. For it was then first that the little horn plucked up three horns, and so became the prolongation of the fourth secular kingdom [Newton]. This would bring us down to about A.D. 2000, or the seventh thousand millenary from creation. But Clinton makes about 1862 the seventh millenary, which may favor the dating from A.D. 529.

The numbers of Daniel and John seem to agree. Daniel was certainly prophetical in these things, and his prophecy reacheth to the end of times, even of antichrist’s reign. I will not deny but Antiochus might be a type and forerunner of antichrist, and did many things against the Jewish church, with craft, cruelty, and blasphemy; but he was no part of the fourth, but of the third beast; whereas Daniel here points mainly at the Roman power and persecution, especially by

the little horn, which lasted to his ruin; after which it is clear the Lord Christ will reign in and over his saints much more gloriously; which the Jews will never be beaten from, because there are so many signal places in the prophets speaking of it yet unfulfilled, and in the Apocalypse, to the wise reader, after the beast and whore are destroyed, with all their supporters. But enough of that at present. And he shall speak great words against the most High,.... Or, "at the side of the most High" (p); setting himself up as a rival, and upon an equality with him; taking the names and characters of holiness, infallibility, yea, of deity itself, unto him; claiming a power to forgive sin, which is peculiar to God; and preferring his own laws, doctrines, and traditions, to the word of God:

and shall wear out the saints of the most High; by his wars with them, and murders and massacres of them; by taking away their lives and their substance; so lessening their numbers, and weakening their strength and power, wear them out, as a garment is wore out, as the word (q) signifies; utterly consume and destroy them, at least in his own apprehensions; which will be the case when the witnesses will be slain, Revelation 11:8, and especially will wear out their patience, or however thoroughly exercise it. The word (r), in the Arabic language, signifies "to afflict and handle roughly"; and such usage the saints have met with, more or less, in all ages, from the man of sin.

And think to change times and laws: to alter the forms and constitutions of kingdoms, and the customs and usages of them; yea, to set up and pull down kings at pleasure; see Daniel 2:21, or to change the use of times and seasons, by setting apart days as holy for canonized saints; and appointing such days in a week, and such a season in the year, for abstinence from meats; and even to change the laws of God and man, by dispensing with both, and making new ones of his own:

and they shall be given into his hand; either the saints he makes war with, and wears out, who shall be overcome by him; or the times and laws, which he shall not only have it in his mind and purpose to change, but shall have it in his power to do it, and shall do it:

until a time, and times, and the dividing of time; by "a time" is meant a year, the longest part of time; by "times", two years; and "the dividing of time", half a year; in all three years and a half, which is the same with 1260 days, or forty two months, the time of the witnesses prophesying in sackcloth, and of the reign of antichrist; so long shall he continue, exercising his power and authority, his wrath and rage, and blasphemy, and no longer; see Revelation 11:2.

(p) "ad regionem, sive latus Altissimi", Calvin; "juxta Altissimum". Cocceius; "ex parte Altissimi", Munster. (q) Sept.; "deteret", Junius & Trmellius, Piscator; "abolebit", Montanus; "absumet" Munster; "consumet", Vatablus. (r) "ingrato et duriore modo tractavit, affixit", Giggeius apud Golium, col. 325. Erpenius apud Castel. col. 363. So Michaelis on the place observes.

And he shall speak great words against {o} the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to {p} change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a {q} time and times and the dividing of time.

(o) That is, will make wicked decrees and proclamations against God's word, and send throughout all their dominion, to destroy all that did profess it.

(p) These emperors will not consider that they have their power from God, but think it is in their own power to change God's laws and man's, and as it were the order of nature, as appears by Octavius, Tiberius, Calligula, Nero, Domitianus, etc.

(q) God will allow them to rage in this way against his saints for a long time, the time and times, but at length he will soften these troubles, and shorten the time for his elect's sake, Mt 24:22, which is here meant by the dividing of time.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
25. Expansion of the ‘great things’ of Daniel 7:8 end. He will blaspheme the Most High (cf. Daniel 11:36 ‘will speak marvellous things against the God of gods’), and seek to ruin His saints.

wear away] LXX, κατατρίψει. An expressive figure for continuous persecution and vexation. The idea of the word is to wear or rub away, applied often to clothes (Deuteronomy 8:4; Joshua 9:13; Isaiah 50:9, al.), though in the usual rendering of A.V., R.V., ‘wax old,’ this is unfortunately obliterated. Cf. Job 13:28 ‘and he, like a rotten thing, weareth (or falleth) away’; 1 Chronicles 17:9 ‘neither shall the children of unrighteousness any more wear them away’ (altered from the ‘afflict’ of 2 Samuel 7:10); Isaiah 3:15, Targ. ‘and the faces of the poor ye wear away’ (for Heb. grind).

think to change times and law] The phrase is worded generally; and it is true that Antiochus, according to 1Ma 1:41-42, sought to interfere arbitrarily even with heathen cults: but the allusion is more particularly to the attempts made by him to suppress the Jewish religion by prohibiting the observance of religious festivals and other ordinances of the Law (see 1Ma 1:44-49). ‘Think’ means plan or even hope, a sense which the word used has often in the Targums and in Syriac (Luke 24:21, Pesh.). For ‘times’ in the sense of fixed times (here, the times fixed for religious observances, the Hebrew mô’ădim, Leviticus 23:2; Leviticus 23:4 [R.V. set feasts], Isaiah 1:14 [A.V., R.V., appointed feasts], Isaiah 33:20 [A.V., R.V., solemnities]), see in the Targ. Genesis 1:14; Exodus 13:10; Exodus 23:15; Numbers 28:2; Isaiah 33:20 (for ‘solemnities’); Jeremiah 8:7. By ‘law’ is meant the Mosaic law, as Daniel 6:5.

until a time and times and half a time (R.V.)] The saints will be given into the hand of this godless king for three years and a half. ‘Time’ (a different word from that in the preceding clause, and in the note on Daniel 7:12 rendered season) has the same sense of year, which it had in Daniel 4:16 : the same expression (in its Hebrew form) recurs in Daniel 12:7 (also of the duration of Antiochus’ persecution); comp. also Revelation 12:14. For the particulars of Antiochus’ persecution, see the notes on Daniel 11:31. It began with the mission of Apollonius against Jerusalem, probably about June 168, and with the edict of Antiochus which was immediately afterwards put in force (1Ma 1:20-53); and it ended (substantially) with the re-dedication of the Temple, after its three years’ desecration, on the 25th of Chisleu [Dec.], 165 (1Ma 4:52 f.). This, in all probability, is the period of 3½ years which is here intended. The 3½ years might also, however, be reckoned from the erection of the heathen altar in the court of the Temple, on the 15th of Chisleu, b.c. 168, to the death of Antiochus, which took place probably about the middle of 164 (see on Daniel 8:14): the terminus a quo would then agree with that of the 1290 days in Daniel 12:11, and the two periods would be (approximately) the same; but the six months before December 168 are more likely to have been included in the period of persecution, than the six months after December 165, when the victories of Judas had stemmed the tide of the persecution, and public worship had been resumed in the Temple.Verses 25-27. - And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaved, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. The versions do not present much of note in, ver. 25, save that the Greek versions imply that dominion over all is given to the oppressors. Throughout the Septuagint has traces of explanatory expansion. He shall speak words against the Most High. The word "against," letzad, is really "to the side of." This clause may refer to blasphemy against God, but more naturally refers to self-exaltation to a place alongside of God. Shall wear out the saints of the Most High. Persecute them, or maintain war against them; the natural meaning of the word is "afflict." And shall think to change times and laws. It ought not to be "laws," in the plural, but "law." It may refer to the marked changes introduced into the calendar by Julius Caesar. Certainly the law or constitution of the Roman state was changed by him. And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. Who shall be given into his hands? It is usually assumed that it is the saints; but the LXX. asserts that it is universal dominion that is given into the hands of the oppressors. We have no right to assume that 'iddan, "a time," means "a year;" it is really any defined time. Certainly it does approximate to the time during which the temple was polluted with heathen offerings; but it also coincides with equal accuracy to the campaigns of Vespasian and Titus against the Jews. Vespasian landed in Galilee in the beginning of A.D. , and Jerusalem fell on September 5, A.D. 70. There was thus, approximately, three years and a half occupied by this war. But "centuries" might also be meant. From the birth of our Lord, on whom the oppression was first exercised, till the accession of Constantine, was three centuries and a portion of a century. The judgment shall sit. Not necessarily the last judgment, but the evil that is being done comes before God for judgment. The taking away of the kingdom and dominion is immediately at the end of the period indicated by "a time and times and a dividing of time." The dominion was not taken away from Epiphanes then, nor from Vespasian; it did, however, pass from the heathenish empire when Constantine ascended the throne. At the same time, any such purely limited explanation is against the whole symbolic character of this vision. It is a period of time measured by "seven" halves. The times may receive their definition, not from the calendar, but from their spiritual import or dynamic content. The three years of our Lord's ministry is of more moment for the history of the race than all the millennia that preceded it. Nebuchadnezzar commanded all the chief officers of the kingdom to be present at the solemn dedication of the image. שׁלח, he sent, viz., מלאכים or רצים messengers, 1 Samuel 11:7; 2 Chronicles 30:6, 2 Chronicles 30:10; Esther 3:15. Of the great officers of state, seven classes are named: - 1. אחשׁדּרפּניּא, i.e., administrators of the Khshatra, in Old Pers. dominion, province, and pâvan in Zend., guardians, watchers, in Greek Σατράπης, the chief representatives of the king in the provinces. 2. סגניּא, Hebr. סגנים, from the Old Pers. (although not proved) akana, to command (see under Daniel 2:48), commanders, probably the military chiefs of the provinces. 3. פּחותא, Hebr. פּחה, פחות, also an Old Pers. word, whose etymon and meaning have not yet been established (see under Haggai 1:1), denotes the presidents of the civil government, the guardians of the country; cf. Haggai 1:1, Haggai 1:14; Nehemiah 5:14, Nehemiah 5:18. 4. אדרגּזריּא, chief judges, from the Sem. גזר, to distinguish, and אדר, dignity (cf. אדרמּלך), properly, chief arbitrators, counsellors of the government. 5. גּדבריּא, a word of Aryan origin, from גּדבר, identical with גּזבּר, masters of the treasury, superintendents of the public treasury. 6. דּתבריּא, the Old Pers. dâta-bara, guardians of the law, lawyers (cf. דּת, law). 7. תּפתּיּא, Semitic, from Arab. fty IV to give a just sentence, thus judges in the narrower sense of the word. Finally, all שׁלטני, rulers, i.e., governors of provinces, prefects, who were subordinate to the chief governor, cf. Daniel 2:48-49.

All these officers were summoned "to come (מתא from אתא, with the rejection of the initial )א to the dedication of the image." The objection of v. Leng. and Hitz., that this call would "put a stop to the government of the country," only shows their ignorance of the departments of the state-government, and by no means makes the narrative doubtful. The affairs of the state did not lie so exclusively in the hands of the presidents of the different branches of the government, as that their temporary absence should cause a suspension of all the affairs of government. חנכּה is used of the dedication of a house (Deuteronomy 20:5) as well as of the temple (1 Kings 8:63; 2 Chronicles 7:5; Ezra 6:16), and here undoubtedly denotes an act connected with religious usages, by means of which the image, when the great officers of the kingdom fell down before it, was solemnly consecrated as the symbol of the world-power and (in the heathen sense) of its divine glory. This act is described (Daniel 3:3-7) in so far as the object contemplated rendered it necessary.

When all the great officers of state were assembled, a herald proclaimed that as soon as the sound of the music was heard, all who were present should, on pain of death by being cast into the fire, fall down before the image and offer homage to it; which they all did as soon as the signal was given. The form קאמין, Daniel 3:3, corresponds to the sing. קאם (Daniel 2:31) as it is written in Syr., but is read קימין. The Masoretes substitute for it in the Talm. The common form קימין; cf. Frst, Lehrgb. der aram. Idiom. p. 161, and Luzzatto, Elem. Gram. p. 33. The expression לקבל, Daniel 3:3, and Ezra 4:16, is founded on קבל, the semi-vowel of the preceding sound being absorbed, as in the Syr. l-kebel. On כּרוזא, herald, and on the form לכון, see under Daniel 2:5. אמרין, they say, for "it is said to you." The expression of the passive by means of a plural form of the active used impersonally, either participially or by 3rd pers. perf. plur., is found in Hebr., but is quite common in Chald.; cf. Ewald, Lehr. d. hebr. Spr. 128, b, and Winer, Chald. Gram. 49, 3. The proclamation of the herald refers not only to the officers who were summoned to the festival, but to all who were present, since besides the officers there was certainly present a great crowd of people from all parts of the kingdom, as M. Geier has rightly remarked, so that the assembly consisted of persons of various races and languages. אמּיּא denotes tribes of people, as the Hebr. אמּה, אמּות Genesis 25:16, denotes the several tribes of Ishmael, and Numbers 25:15 the separate tribes of the Midianites, and is thus not so extensive in its import as עמּין, peoples. לשּׁניּא, corresponding to הלּשׁות, Isaiah 66:18, designates (vide Genesis 10:5, Genesis 10:20, Genesis 10:31) communities of men of the same language, and is not a tautology, since the distinctions of nation and of language are in the course of history frequently found. The placing together of the three words denotes all nations, however they may have widely branched off into tribes with different languages, and expresses the sense that no one in the whole kingdom should be exempted from the command. It is a mode of expression (cf. Daniel 3:7, Daniel 3:29, 31[4:1], and Daniel 6:26[25]) specially characterizing the pathetic style of the herald and the official language of the world-kingdom, which Daniel also (Daniel 5:19; Daniel 7:14) makes use of, and which from the latter passage is transferred to the Apocalypse, and by the union of these passages in Daniel with Isaiah 66:18 is increased to ἔθνη (גּוים in Isa.), φυλλαι,́ λαοὶ καὶ γλῶσσαι (Revelation 5:9; Revelation 7:9; Revelation 13:7; Revelation 14:6; Revelation 17:15).

In the same passage זמנא בּהּ, Daniel 3:7 (cf. also Daniel 3:8), is interchanged with בּעדּנא, at the time (Daniel 3:5 and Daniel 3:15); but it is to be distinguished from בּהּ־שׁעתּא, at the same moment, Daniel 3:6 and Daniel 3:15; for שׁעא or שׁעה has in the Bib. Chald. only the meaning instant, moment, cf. Daniel 4:16, Daniel 4:30; Daniel 5:5, and acquires the signification short time, hour, first in the Targ. and Rabbin. In the enumeration also of the six names of the musical instruments with the addition: and all kinds of music, the pompous language of the world-ruler and of the herald of his power is well expressed. Regarding the Greek names of three of these instruments see p. 507. The great delight of the Babylonians in music and stringed instruments appears from Isaiah 14:11 and Psalm 137:3, and is confirmed by the testimony of Herod. i. 191, and Curtius, Daniel 3:3. קרנא, horn, is the far-sounding tuba of the ancients, the קרן or שׁופר of the Hebr.; see under Joshua 6:5. משׁרוקיתא, from שׁרק, to hiss, to whistle, is the reed-flute, translated by the lxx and Theodot. σύριγξ, the shepherd's or Pan's pipes, which consisted of several reeds of different thicknesses and of different lengths bound together, and, according to a Greek tradition (Pollux, iv. 9, 15), was invented by two Medes. קיתתס (according to the Kethiv; but the Keri and the Targ. and Rabbin. give the form קתרס) is the Greek κιθάρα or κίθαρις, harp, for the Greek ending ις becomes ος in the Aramaic, as in many similar cases; cf. Ges. Thes. p. 1215. סבּכא, corresponding to the Greek σαμβύκη, but a Syrian invention, is, according to Athen. iv. p. 175, a four-stringed instrument, having a sharp, clear tone; cf. Ges. Thes. p. 935. פּסנמּרין (in Daniel 3:7 written with a טinstead of תand in Daniel 3:10 and Daniel 3:15 pointed with a Tsere under the )ת is the Greek ψαλτήριον, of which the Greek ending ιον becomes abbreviated in the Aram. into ין (cf. Ges. Thes. p. 1116). The word has no etymology in the Semitic. It was an instrument like a harp, which according to Augustin (on Psalm 33:2 [Psalm 32:2] and Psalm 43:4 [Psalm 42:4) was distinguished from the cithara in this particular, that while the strings of the cithara passed over the sounding-board, those of the psalterium (or organon) were placed under it. Such harps are found on Egyptian (see Rosellini) and also on Assyrian monuments (cf. Layard, Ninev. and Bab., Table xiii. 4). סוּמפּניה, in Daniel 3:10 סיפניה, is not derived from ספן, contignare, but is the Aramaic form of συμφωνία, bag-pipes, which is called in Italy at the present day sampogna, and derives its Greek name from the accord of two pipes placed in the bag; cf. Ges. Thes. p. 941. זמרא signifies, not "song," but musical playing, from reemaz, to play the strings, ψάλλειν; and because the music of the instrument was accompanied with song, it means also the song accompanying the music. The explanation of זמרא by singing stands here in opposition to the זני כּל, since all sorts of songs could only be sung after one another, but the herald speaks of the simultaneous rise of the sound. The limiting of the word also to the playing on a stringed instrument does not fit the context, inasmuch as wind instruments are also named. Plainly in the words זמרא זני כּל all the other instruments not particularly named are comprehended, so that זמרא is to be understood generally of playing on musical instruments. בּהּ־שׁעתּא, in the same instant. The frequent pleonastic use in the later Aramaic of the union of the preposition with a suffix anticipating the following noun, whereby the preposition is frequently repeated before the noun, as e.g., בּדּניּאל בּהּ, Daniel 5:12, cf. Daniel 5:30, has in the Bibl. Chald. generally a certain emphasis, for the pronominal suffix is manifestly used demonstratively, in the sense even this, even that.

Homage was commanded to be shown to the image under the pain of death to those who refused. Since "the dominion of Nebuchadnezzar was founded not by right, but by the might of conquest" (Klief.), and the homage which he commanded to be shown to the image was regarded not only as a proof of subjection under the power of the king, but comprehended in it also the recognition of his gods as the gods of the kingdom, instances of refusal were to be expected. In the demand of the king there was certainly a kind of religious oppression, but by no means, as Bleek, v. Leng., and other critics maintain, a religious persecution, as among heathen rulers Antiochus Epiphanes practised it. For so tolerant was heathenism, that it recognised the gods of the different nations; but all heathen kings required that the nations subdued by them should also recognise the gods of their kingdom, which they held to be more powerful than were the gods of the vanquished nations. A refusal to yield homage to the gods of the kingdom they regarded as an act of hostility against the kingdom and its monarch, while every one might at the same time honour his own national god. This acknowledgement, that the gods of the kingdom were the more powerful, every heathen could grant; and thus Nebuchadnezzar demanded nothing in a religious point of view which every one of his subjects could not yield. To him, therefore, the refusal of the Jews could not but appear as opposition to the greatness of his kingdom. But the Jews, or Israelites, could not do homage to the gods of Nebuchadnezzar without rejecting their faith that Jehovah alone was God, and that besides Him there were no gods. Therefore Nebuchadnezzar practised towards them, without, from his polytheistic standpoint, designing it, an intolerable religious coercion, which, whoever, is fundamentally different from the persecution of Judaism by Antiochus Epiphanes, who forbade the Jews on pain of death to serve their God, and endeavoured utterly to destroy the Jewish religion. - Regarding the structure of the fiery furnace, see under Daniel 3:22.

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