Therefore has the LORD watched on the evil, and brought it on us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he does: for we obeyed not his voice.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Watched.—By the use of this word it seems that Daniel is again referring to the prophecies of Jeremiah. (See Jeremiah 1:12, &c.) He prays that as all the curses foretold by that prophet have been poured upon the nation, so also the release from the Captivity, which was also promised by him, may be accomplished also.Jeremiah 1:12; Jeremiah 31:28; Jeremiah 44:27. - Gesenius, "Lexicon" The meaning here is, that the Lord had not been inattentive to the progress of things, nor unmindful of his threatening. He had never slumbered, but had carefully observed the course of events, and had been attentive to all that they had done, and to all that he had threatened to do. The practical "truth" taught here - and it is one of great importance to sinners - is, that God is not inattentive to their conduct, though he may seem to be, and that in due time he will show that he has kept an unslumbering eye upon them. See the notes at Isaiah 18:4.
For the Lord our God is righteous in all his works ... - This is the language of a true penitent; language which is always used by one who has right feelings when he reflects on the Divine dealings toward him. God is seen to be righteous in his law and in his dealings, and the only reason why we suffer is that we have sinned. This will be found to be true always; and whatever calamities we suffer, it should he a fixed principle with us to "ascribe righteousness to our Maker," Job 36:3.
God is righteous—True penitents "justify" God, "ascribing righteousness to Him," instead of complaining of their punishment as too severe (Ne 9:33; Job 36:3; Ps 51:4; La 3:39-42).Therefore hath the Lord watched: this notes,
1. God’s taking notice of all their ways, even while men sleep in carnal security, and dream of no danger.
2. God’s watching here notes the fit ways that he always takes to punish sinners.
3. It notes his haste in executing judgment duly and seasonably, when it makes most for the honour of his justice.
4. That he may, like a careful watchman, not suffer any to escape his hands. Job 14:16, but the latter is here meant; see Jeremiah 31:28, the word used has the signification of hastening; and so Jarchi and Saadiah explain it, "he hath hastened" (h): the almond tree, as the latter observes, has its name from hence, because it prevents other trees, and is quicker in putting out its blossom than they, Jeremiah 1:11 and so this may denote the purity of the Lord; his displicency at sin; his strict justice in punishing it; and his diligence and activity in executing judgment for it, which slumbers not, as some imagine:
for the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth; the prophet is all along careful to clear God from any imputation of injustice in any of his works, even in his strange work, punitive justice; though he watches over the evil to bring it, yet he is righteous in so doing; no charge of unrighteousness is to be exhibited against him on this account:
for we obeyed not his voice; neither in his word, nor in his providences; neither by his prophets, nor by his judgments; and being guilty of the evil of fault, it was but just they should bear the evil of punishment.Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)14. And (so) Jehovah hath watched over] The same expression in Jeremiah 1:12; Jeremiah 31:28; Jeremiah 44:27 (‘I watch over them for evil and not for good’), the meaning being that Jehovah is wakeful or vigilant over the evil, that it may duly be brought when the right moment arrives. Cf. Bar 2:9.
is righteous] cf. Jeremiah 12:1, Lamentations 1:18, Ezra 9:15, Nehemiah 9:8 end, 33.
in the matter of all his works which he hath done] cf. (with the same peculiar use of the prep. ‘al) Nehemiah 9:33, ‘and thou art righteous in the matter of all that is come upon us.’
and we have not obeyed (lit. hearkened to) his voice] cf. Daniel 5:10.Verse 14. - Therefore hath the Lord watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice. The Greek versions agree with this, save that the LXX. has "Lord God" in the first case as well as the second. The Peshitta, when one remembers the different division of the verses, is also identical. There is an obvious resemblance here to Jeremiah 44:27, "Behold, I am watching over you for evil, and not for good." The verb shaqad is somewhat rare, occurring only twelve times in Scripture, and five of these times in Jeremiah. It is not always an evil watching; in Jeremiah 31:28 the two meanings are contrasted. Then follows an acknowledgment of the righteousness of God in so dealing with them Bar. 2:9 is really a version of this verse; the original Hebrew would be almost identical. There are few indications which, did this verse stand alone, would enable one to decide which is the more primitive. Daniel 4:14)
The divine messenger concludes his announcement with the words that the matter was unchangeably decreed, for this purpose, that men might be led to recognise the supremacy of the Most High over the kings of the earth. The first two passages have no verb, and thus the verb. substant. must be supplied. Accordingly we must not translate: by the decree of the watchers is the message, i.e., is it delivered (Kran.), nor: the decree is included in the fate, the unalterable will of Heaven (Hv.); but בdenotes the department within which the גּזרה lies, and is to be translated: "the message consists in, or rests on, the decree of the watchers." גּזרה, the unchangeable decision, the decretum divinum, quod homini aut rebus humanis tanquam inevitabile impositum est (Buxtorf's Lex. talm. rabb. p. 419), the Fatum in which the Chaldeans believed. Regarding פּתגּם see under Daniel 3:16. Here the fundamental meaning, the message, that which is to happen, can be maintained. The second member is synonymous, and affirms the same thing in another way. The word, the utterance of the holy ones, i.e., the watchers (see under Daniel 4:13), is שׁאלתּא, the matter. The meaning lying in the etymon, request or question, is not here suitable, but only the derivative meaning, matter as the object of the request or inquiry. The thing meant is that which is decided regarding the tree, that it should be cut down, etc. This is so clear, that a pronoun referring to it appears superfluous.
דּי דּברת עד, till the matter that ... to the end that; not equals דּי עד, Daniel 4:25, because here no defining of time goes before. The changing of עד into על (Hitz.) is unnecessary and arbitrary. That the living may know, etc. The expression is general, because it is not yet said who is to be understood by the tree which should be cut down. This general expression is in reality correct; for the king comes by experience to this knowledge, and so all will attain to it who consider this. The two last passages of Daniel 4:14 express more fully how the Most High manifests His supremacy over the kingdom of men. The Kethiv עליה is shortened from עליהא, and in the Keri is yet further shortened by the rejection of the ;י cf. Daniel 5:21; Daniel 7:4., etc.
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