Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση
[graphic][merged small]

6 Then these presidents and princes 'as- gave thanks before his God, as he did aforesembled together to the king, and said thus time. unto him, King Darius, live for ever.

11 Then these men assembled, and found 7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the Daniel praying and making supplication governors, and the princes, the counsellors, before his God. and the captains, have consulted together 12 Then they came near, and spake beto establish a royal statute, and to make a fore the king concerning the king's decree; firm 'decree, that whosoever shall ask a pe- Hast thou not signed a decree, that every tition of any God or man for thirty days, man that shall ask a petition of any God or save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into man within thirty days, save of thee, o king, the den of lions.

shall be cast into the den of lions ? The 8 Now, O king, establish the decree, and king answered and said, The thing is true, sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Peraccording to the 'law of the Medes and Per- sians, which altereth not. sians, which altereth not.

13 Then answered they and said before 9 Wherefore king Darius signed the the king, That Daniel, which is of the chilwriting and the decree.

dren of the captivity of Judah, regardeth 10 | Now when Daniel knew that the not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou writing was signed, he went into his house; hast signed, but maketh his petition three and his windows being open in his chamber times a day. Stoward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his 14 Then the king, when he heard these knees three times a day, and prayed, and words, was sore displeased with himself, and 1 Or, cane tumultuously.

5 1 kings 3.48.

? Or, interdict.

8 Esther 1. 19, and 8. 8.

* Chald. passeth not.

* Psal. 55. 17.

set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and shut the lions' mouths, that they have not he laboured till the going down of the sun hurt me: forasmuch as before him innoto deliver him.

cency was found in me; and also before 15 Then these men assembled unto the thee, O king, have I done no hurt. king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, 23 Then was the king exceeding glad that the law of the Medes and Persians is, for him, and commanded that they should That no decree nor statute which the king take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel establisheth may be changed.

was taken up out of the den, and no manner 16 Then the king commanded, and they of hurt was found upon him, because he bebrought Daniel, and cast him into the den lieved in his God. of lions. Now the king spake and said unto 24 | And the king commanded, and they Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest con- brought those men which had accused Datinually, he will deliver thee.

niel, and they cast them into the den of 17 Ånd a stone was brought, and laid lions, them, their children, and their wives; upon the mouth of the den; and the king and the lions had the mastery of them, and sealed it with his own signet, and with the brake all their bones in pieces or ever they signet of his lords; that the purpose might came at the bottom of the den. not be changed concerning Daniel.

25 | Then king Darius wrote unto all 18 | Then the king went to his palace, people, nations, and languages, that dwell and passed the night fasting: neither were in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto instruments of musick brought before him: you. and his sleep went from him.

26 I make a decree, That in every domi19. Then the king arose very early in the nion of my kingdom men tremble and fear morning, and went in haste unto the den of before the God of Daniel: for he is the lions.

living God, and stedfast for ever, and his 20 And when he came to the den, he cried kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and and his dominion shall be even unto the end. the king spake and said to Daniel, O Da- 27 He delivereth and rescueth, and he niel, servant of the living God, is thy God, worketh signs and wonders in heaven and whom thou servest continually, able to de- in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from liver thee from the lions ?

the power of the lions. 21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O 28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign king, live for ever.

of Darius, and in the reign of 'Cyrus the 22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath | Persian. 7 Or, table. 8 Chap. 2. 44, and 4.3, and 7. 14, 27. Luke 1.33.

10 Chap. I. 21. Verse 1. “ Darius.”-We have already had occasion to mention this Darius as the Cyaxares of the Greek writers. One of his sisters, married to the king of Persia, was the mother of the great Cyrus, and another, married to the king of Babylon, appears to have been the mother of Belshazzar. In his latter days he was in fact governed by his nephew and heir, Cyrus, " by that ascendancy,” says Hales, “which great souls have always over little ones.” Their interests were so much identified at this time, and the connection between them was so close, that this alone will sufficiently account for the Medes and Persians being in this book mentioned constantly together. Horne, remarking on the truth with which the characters of kings are drawn in the book of Daniel, observes that Xenophon “represents Cyaxares as weak and pliable, but of a cruel temper, easily managed for the most part, and ferocious in his anger. Is not this Darius ?—the same Darius who allowed his nobles to make laws for him, and then repented-suffered Daniel to be cast into the lions' den, and then spent a night in lamentation for him, and at last, in strict conformity with Xenophon's description, condemued to death, not only his false counsellors, but also their wives and children - Introduction,' iv. 213.

8. " The law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.”-See the note on Esther vi. 1. It is singular that the only law which seems to have limited the royal power of the Median and Persian kings, was one by which that power was most strongly magnified and maintained. The king's word was law; and as the king was thus the fountain of law, and as he was looked up to as something more than man-it was quite natural on these premises, however revolting to common sense, to decree that his purpose once declared should not be altered: because a law ought to be a determined thing, on the one hand; and, on the other, beca'ise to have allowed him to yield to the voice of reason and mercy, after his purpose had been declared, would have involved an admission that he had been hasty and mistakenan idea which could not be tolerated under the intense despotisms of Ancient Asia. In the present instance we see the king, in consequence of a declaration, the purpose of which he had not comprehended, compelled to do what he viewed with horror and aversion: and in the Book of Esther, we have seen a king unable to recal an order which he had issued for a massacre of the Jews; all he could do being to issue a counter order, allowing the doomed people to stand upon their defence~that is, they were permitted to do their best to kill those, who were, by his previous order, bound to kill them. Thus the kings sometimes suffered—and their people more—from the infallibility which formed one of the royal prerogatives. This custom has been noticed by ancient heathen authors. The same idea of the inviolability of the royal word has remained in Persia, in a mitigated form, even to modern times. A remarkable example of this is related by Sir John Malcolm of Aga Mahomed Khan, the last but one of the Persian kings. After alluding to

9 Heb. hand.

the present case and that in Esther, he observes, “ the character of the power of the king of Persia has undergone no change. The late king, Aga Mahomed Khan, when encamped near Shiraz, said he would not move till the snow was off the mountain in the vicinity of his camp. The season proved severe, and the snow remained longer than was expected: the amny began to suffer distress and sickness, but the king said, while the snow remained upon the mountain he would not move: and his word was as law, and could not be broken. A multitude of labourers were collected and sent to remove the snow: their efforts, and a few fine days, cleared the mountain, and Aga Mahomed Khan marched. This anecdote was related to me by one of his principal chiefs, and who told it to me with a desire of impressing my mind with a high opinion of Aga Mahomed Khan, who knew, he observed, the sacred nature of a word spoken by the king of Persia," – Hist. of Persia,' i. 268.

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small]

16. “ Cast him into the den of lions.”—This is a new kind of punishment, not previously mentioned in Scripture; and that it first occurs here at Babylon is a remarkable fact showing the accuracy of the sacred writers in their references to the manners and usages of different nations. We are not aware that any ancient writer mentions that the inhabitants of Babylon were in the habit of throwing offenders to be devoured by lions kept in dens for the purpose. But we have the still more conclusive evidence of monuments brought to light by modern travellers, on the sites not only of Babylon but of Susa also, representing lions destroying and preying upon human beings. We will not go so far as the author of an ingenious little work*, as to say that any of these refer to the transaction recorded in the present chapter, being satisfied with the greater certainty with which they demonstrate the point we have mentioned. We give representations of some of the more remarkable of the figures to which we refer. The first was found at Babylon, near the great inass of ruin which is supposed to mark the site of the grand western palace alluded to in a note on ch.ii. It represents a lion standing over the body of a prostrate man, extended on a pedestal which measures nine feet in length by three in breadth. The whole is from a block of stone of the ingredient and texture of granite, the scale colossal, and the sculpture in a very barbarous style. The head has been lately knocked off; but when Mr. Rich saw it, the statue was in a perfect state, and he remarks that “the mouth had a circular aperture into which a man might introduce his fist.” The second very curious representation is from an engraved gem, dug from the ruins of Babylon by Captain Mignan. It exhibits a man standing upon two sphinxes and engaged with two fierce animals, possibly intended for lions. If it be not an astronomical representation, it might seem very probably an exhibition, partly symbolical, of some such event as the present. The · Fellow of several learned Societies,' in adverting to this, directs attention to the great

The Truths of Revelation demonstrated by an Appeal to existing Monuments, Sculptures, Gems, Coins, and Medals. By a Fellow of several learned Societies,' 1831.

similarity which he finds between the features and dress of the man, and those of the captive Jews in Egypt, in that representation which we have copied from the source to which he refers under 2 Chron. xxxv. On comparing them, considerable resemblance may certainly be found about the head and its attire. The third subject is from a block of white marble found near the tomb of Daniel at Susa, and thus described by Sir R. K. Porter in his ‘Travels' (vol. ii. 416). “It does not exceed ten inches in width and depth, measures twenty in length, and is hollow within, as if to receive some deposit. Three of its sides are cut in bas relief, two of them with similar representations of a man appaYently naked, except a sash round his waist and a sort of cap on his head. His hands are bound behind him. The corner of the stone forms the neck of the figure, so that its head forms one of its ends. Two lions in sitting postures appear on either side at the top, each having a paw on the head of the man.” These are certainly satisfactory illustrations of the custom in question, as existing at Babylon and Susa, and others might be adduced from Babylonian coins. As to the punishment itself, opinions will be divided. But it is remarkable that Dr. Paley thought that something similar would, as a capital punishment, be preferable to public executions, which he considered to have rather a hardening than a corrective effect upon the public mind.


garment was white as snow, and the hair

of his head like the pure wool: his throne i Daniel's vision of four beasts. 9 Of God's king.

was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as dom. 15 The interpretation thereof.

burning fire. In the first year of Belshazzar king of Ba- 10 A fiery stream issued and came forth bylon Daniel 'had a dream and visions of from before him : 'thousand thousands mihis head upon his bed: then he wrote the nistered unto him, and ten thousand times dream, and told the sum of the 'matters. ten thousand stood before him: the judg

2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my ment was set, and the books were opened. vision by night, and, behold, the four winds 11 I beheld then because of the voice of of the heaven strore upon the great sea. the great words which the horn spake: I

3 And four great beasts came up from beheld even till the beast was slain, and his the sea, diverse one from another.

body destroyed, and given to the burning 4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle's flame. wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were 12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, plucked, 'and it was lifted up from the earth, they had their dominion taken away: yet and made stand upon the feet as a man, and their lives were prolonged for a season and a man's heart was

time. 5 And behold another beast, a second, 13 like to a bear, and ‘it raised up itself on one one like the Son of man came with the clouds side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, it between the teeth of it: and they said and they brought him near before him. thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

14 And there was given him dominion, 6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, a leopard, which had upon the back of it four nations, and languages, should serve him: wings of a fowl; the beast had also four his dominion is an everlasting dominion, heads; and dominion was given to it. which shall not pass away, and his kingdom

7 After this I saw in the night visions, that which shall not be destroyed. and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and ter- 15 9 1 Daniel was grieved in my spirit in rible, and strong exceedingly; and it had the midst of my 'body, and the visions of great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in my head troubled me. pieces, and stamped the residue with the 16 I came near unto one of them that feet of it: and it was diverse from all the stood by, and asked him the truth of all beasts that were before it; and it had ten this. So he told me, and made me know the horns.

interpretation of the things. 8 I considered the horns, and, behold, 17 These great beasts, which are four, there came up among them another little are four kings, which shall arise out of the horn, before whom there were three of the earth. first horns plucked up by the roots : and, 18 But the saints of the most High behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes shall take the kingdom, and possess the of man, and a mouth speaking great things. kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.

9 1 I beheld till the thrones were cast 19 Then I would know the truth of the down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose fourth beast, which was diverse "from al

*Or, it raised up one dominion.

& Revel. 20. 12. 7 Chald. a prolonging in life was given them. 8 Chap. 2. 44. Mic. 4. 7. Luke 1. 33.

10 Chald. high ones, that is, things or places. 11 Chald. from all those.

i Chald. saw.

9 Or, words... 18 Or, wherewith.

5 Revel. 5. 11.

9 Chald. sheath.

19 Luke 1. 33.

the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth | dom are ten kings that shall arise: and anwere of iron, and his nails of brass; which other shall rise after them; and he shall be devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the diverse from the first, and he shall subdue residue with his feet;

three kings. 20 And of the ten horns that were in his 25 And he shall speak great words against head, and of the other which came up, and the most High, and shall wear out the saints before whom three fell; even of that horn of the most High, and think to change times that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very and laws: and they shall be given into his great things, whose look was more stout hand until a time and times and the dividthan his fellows.

ing of time. 21 I beheld, and the same horn made 26 But the judgment shall sit, and they war with the saints, and prevailed against shall take away his dominion, to consume them;

and to destroy it unto the end. 22 Until the Ancient of days came, and 27 And the kingdom and dominion, and judgment was given to the saints of the most the greatness of the kingdom under the High; and the time came that the saints whole heaven, shall be given to the people possessed the kingdom.

of the saints of the most High, whose king23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall dom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dobe the fourth kingdom upon earth, which minions shall serve and obey him. shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and 28 Hitherto is the end of the matter. As shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread for me Daniel, my cogitations much trouit down, and break it in pieces.

bled me, and my countenance changed in 24 And the ten horns out of this king- /me: but I kept the matter in my heart.

13 Or, ruler 8. Verse 1. “Visions."-In going through the visions which follow, we shall be constrained by a regard to our limits to remember that the interpretation of prophecy is no part of the duty we have undertaken. Our notes therefore will be few and brief ; the necessity for which we the less regret, inasmuch as Daniel is, to a very great extent, his own interpreter; and the reader who compares the visions with each other, and who possesses the slightest acquaintance with history, cannot fail to discover the subjects to which they refer, and the remarkable and literal fulfilment they have all received with the exception of those concluding ones which are left for the time yet future to reveal. Só clear are these prophecies, and so definite even in their dates, that it is impossible for the boldest unbelief to deny the divine inspiration of the prophet, without at the same time asserting that the prophecies were written after the events to which they refer. But that they were not so, is demonstrable by the completest proof that ever was brought to bear on any historical or literary question; and for this reason, as well as from the circumstance that nearly all the events which form the subjects of prediction are the most conspicuous events in general history, and with the details of which we are amply informed by heathen or infidel historians, we have always been of opinion that the book of Daniel furr nishes such powerful and unanswerable evidence of the divine authority of the sacred writers, that it is rather sur. prising that so powerful a weapon as this might be, in skilful and blessed hands, has not been wielded for the overthrow of unbelief.

Although we are restricted with respect to notes on this portion of Scripture, it may be desirable to prefix a few observations for the guidance of the less instructed reader.

If the visions in ch. vii., viii., and xi., be attentively considered, and compared with each other and with the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, it will clearly appear that they all refer to the same subject, and all describe the same things under a variety of figures. The object, as briefly intimated under ch. ii. 31, is to furnish a prophetic sketch of general history to the end of time; yet so that each sketch contains some particulars which are not to be found in the others ; and in some cases one sketch expatiates on one branch of the subject, which the others pass over slightly. To obtain therefore a full view of the information which the prophecies contain, the student of Scripture finds it necessary to collate them with one another. The following hints may be useful.

THE GENERAL SUBJECT is proposed in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, under the similitude of a compound image of four metalo-gold, silver, brass, and iron; and in the present vision by four wild beasts rising from the sea : both denoting four great sovereignties.

THE BABYLONIAN EMPIRE is represented, in ch. ii., by the head of gold ; and in the present vision, by a lion with eagle's wings. There is great propriety in this representation when we recollect that this empire has been described by other prophets under the figures of a lion and an eagle—a long-winged and full-feathered eagle in Ezekiel (Jer. iv. 7 ; xlviii. 40; Ezek. xvii. 2).

The Medo-Persian Empire-denoted in Nebuchadnezzar's dream by the breast and arms of silver; in the present vision, by a bear with three ribs between his teeth ; and in the next (viii. 3, 4), by a ram with enequal horns, the last higher than the others, pushing (extending its conquests) to the west

, the north, and the south. This last explains what is meant by the three ribs in the bear's mouth, and by the breast and two arms (three portions) of silver. In all these chapters the reader will not fail to recollect that the horn was the common symbol of sovereign power.

Tax MACEDO-GRECIAN EMPIRE, by which the preceding was overthrown. These prophecies, which relate to it, are exceedingly remarkable ; and the reader, in tracing this empire in the dream and visions, cannot fail to observe that they became progressively more definite, till at last the king of Grecia” (Alexander) is distinctly mentioned. This is first represented by the belly and thighs of brass (ii. 39); a leopard with four wings and four heads (vii. 6); a swift he-goat from the west, with a great horn, afterwards broken into four smaller ones, to the four winds, or towards every point of the compass (viii. 5-8); and this is explained in xi. 2-4, to mean a mighty king of Grecia (Alexander) who should overthrow the king of Persia; his kingdom to be divided into four inferior kingdoms, to the four windsbut not to his posterity. How all this was fulfilled every body knows. The last clause is most remarkable for its definite reference iu VOL. Ill. 2


« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »