Abbildungen der Seite

one of the holy angels, who watch over ihe affairs of men, and 14 execute the counsels of God; He cried aloud, and said thus,

Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit : let the beasts get away from

under it, and the fowls from his branches, no longer relying on 15 its protection. Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in

the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, to keep it from being rooted up and utterly destroyed, in the tender grass of the field ; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let

his portion [be] with the beasts in the grass of the earth. 16 Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart

be given unto him ; and let seven times, or years, pass over

him ; words w/ ich must have puzzled him more than any thing 17 else. This matter [is] by the decree of the watchers, and

the demand by the word of the holy ones :* to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and settetl

up over it the basest of men ; which Nebuchadnezzar's pride 18 and tyranny had rendered him. This dream I king Nebuchad.

nezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise (men) of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation ; they might think it referred to his humiliation and ca. lamity, and therefore be afraid to tell him : but thou art able :

for the spirit of the holy gods [is] in thee. 19 Then Daniel, whose name (was) Belteshazzar, was astonied

for one hour, that is for a considerable space, and his thoughts troubled him ; the circumstance was astonishing, and his high regard for the king increased his concern. Then The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered with tenderness, and politeness, and said, My lord, the dream

[be] to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof 30 to thine enemies. The tree that thou sawest, which grew,

and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and 21 the sight thereof to all the earth ; Whose leaves [were] fair,

and the fruit thereof much, and in it (was) meat for all ; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation ; re.

peating all this, to show what notice he had taken of the relation ; 32 It (is) thou, O king, that art grown and become strong : for

thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy 23 dominion to the end of the earth. And whereas the king saw

a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down, and destroy it : yet leave the

God is sometimes represented as consulting with his angels, and they, as joining in his decrees : but by holy ones, some understand saints upon earth praying God to reStrain his tyranny. VOL. VI.


stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass in the tender grass of the field ; implying, thal a secret powerful Providence should watch over Nebuchadnezzar, and guard him from wild beasts and the inclemency of the weather, till his reason returned ; and let it be wet with the

dew of heaven, and [let) his portion (be) with the beasts of 24 the field, till seven times pass over him ; This [is] the inter

pretation, o king, and this [is] the decree of the most High, 25 which is come upon my lord the king : That they shall drive

thee from men, or, thou shalt be driven from men, seized with lunacy, and madness, and be incapable of human converse, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee,

till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of 26 men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. And whereas

they, that is, God, and his angels who execute his pleasure, commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots ; thy king

dom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known 27 that the heavens do rule. Wherefore, O king, let my coun

sel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by right. eousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor ; whom thou hast injured and oppressed, if it may be a lengthen

ing of thy tranquillity. 28 29 All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.* At the

end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom

of Babylon ; God'patience waited, but Daniel's advice made 30 but little impression. The king spake, and said, Is not this

great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? He strutted about as though he were independent of the most High ; surveying the glory of a creation of his own, re

flecting on what he had done to make the city beautiful and mag31 nificent. And While the word (was) in the king's mouth,

there fell a voice from heaven, [saying,] O king Nebuchad

nezzar, to thee it is spoken ; The kingdom is departed from 32 thee. And they shall drive thee, or, thou shalt be driven, from

men, and thy dwelling (shall be) with the beasts of the field : they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will ; the terror of this voice, and the remembrance of Daniel's interpretation might haslen his madness ; for The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar, and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like

. He sometimes speaks in the first person and sometimes in the third, as many wric

eagles' [feathers,) and his nails like birds' (claws :] he ran out into a large park near the palace ; and his ministers, seeing no hope of his recovery till the time fixed, and believing this to be

the will of Providence, left him to wander there, and put the 34 kingdom under a regency for seven years.* And at the end

of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heav. en, whereas before they were fixed on the earth, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose

dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom [is] 35 from generation to generation : And all the inhabitants of the

earth Care] reputed as nothing : and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and (among) the inhabitants

of the earth : and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, 36 What doest thou ? At the same time my reason returned

unto me : and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; I was able to behave in as wise, rational, and majestic a manner as before ; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me ; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me ;

God gave such a turn to their minds, that they sought to me, 37 and reverenced me as much as before. Now I Nebuchadnez

zar, (he does not say king Nebuchadnezzar,) with all humility of soul, praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works [are) truth, and his ways judgment ; acknowl. edging not only his power, but his justice : and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. So he found it ; he had walked in pride, but how was he broughtlow, even to creep upon the ground! This is the last we read of him ; one would hope he lived and died under these good impressions, and that this judgment upon him might be the saving of his soul,


1. H OW soor may the minds of the greatest men be terrifi.

11 ed, v. 4. Nebuchadnezzar had made many successful campaigns, obtained great glory, made his bed easy, and was well guarded ; yet he was terrified. Of what little value are riches and honour, when they cannot secure the peace of the mind, nor relieve it when God is a terror to it.

2. It is our duty to inform others of God's dealings with us, as far as may be for his glory and their good. All countries no doubt heard of Nebuchadnezzar's distraction ; but he lets them know that the hand of God was in it, and bears testimony to his power and righteousness. Thus should we embrace every op

* There is a fragment of an ancient historian of those days, who gives some account of this event, quoted by Scaliger and other writers.

portunity of glorifying God, and celebrating his excellencies ; and not be ashamed to mention even those dispensations which are most afflictive and mortifying to us.

3. Daniel's excellent counsel to Nebuchadnezzar, should be attended to by all those who have been unjust or uncharitable, viz. to break off their sins, to cease to do evil, and to bring forth fruits meet for repentance ; to be as forward to show mercy, as they have been to oppress or bear hard upon others. This may remove temporal judgments, at least prevent or defer them; but it is absolutely necessary in order to secure everlasting tran: quillity.

4. What a dreadful case is it to be deprived of reason! The most afflictive of all temporal judgments. The poorest beggar in his kingdom was more honourable and happy than this insane king. How thankful should we be for the continuance of our reason, and how careful never to injure it, by drunkenness, vio. lent passions, anxious cares about the world, or suffering our face ulties to rust. Let us tenderly pity those who want it ; never censure them, or make a jest of them ; but contribute all in our power for their relief.

5. Observe how easily God can humble the proudest of men, This is one of the finest, most humbling, and instructive lessons to human vanity, that ever was exhibited ; and a glorious, lasting proof of God's supremacy, almighty power, and hatred of pride. Let us attend to those instructions which Nebuchadnezzar hath given us, and remember, that the heavens rule, that the most High governs, that he will abase those that walk in pride, and that none can ever harden himself against him, and prosper.


In this chapler we have an account of the taking of Babylon by Cy

rus. Jeremiah had foretold that all nations should serve Nebu. chadnezzar, his son, and his son's son ; and then, that his empire should come to an end. Belshazzar was the grandson of Nebu. chadnezzar, and the son of Evilmerodach. Cyrus had beaten him in batile, and then besieged the city. The king and inhabitants were confident and secure, because they thought it impregnable, and had twenty years provisions within its walls ; but during the feast mentioned in this chapter, Cyrus surprized the city, by draining the river Euphrates, which ran through it, and entering along the channel of it.*

I NELSHAZZAR the king made a great feast to a thou.

D sand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. 2 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring

The particulars of this are recorded by Herodotus and Xenophon.

the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which (was) in Jerusalem ; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines might drink therein ; 'which, as these vessels were put into the

temple of his own god, was a profanation of them in his drunken 3 frolic, contrary to the principles of his own religion. Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which (was) at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone, in a kind

of triumph over the God of Israel, $ In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and

wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the

wall of the king's palace : and the king saw the part of the 6 hand that wrote. Then the king's countenance was changed,

and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another ; his guilty thoughts threw him into dreadful terror and confusion ; and, with great fear and impatience, The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. [And] the king spake, and said to the wise (men) of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and show me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and (have)

a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in 8 the kingdom, or, one of the three presidents. Then came in

all the king's wise (men :) but they could not read the writ. ing, nor make known to the king the interpretation there

of ; it being probably written in the old Hebrew or Samaritan 9 characters, which they did not understand. Then was king

Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was chang

ed in him, and his lords were astonied. 10 (Now] the queen by reason of the words of the king and

his lords came into the banquet house :* [and] the queen

spake, and said, O king, live for ever : let not thy thoughts 11 trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed : There is

a man in thy kingdom, in whom [is] the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him ; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, (I say,]

thy father, or grandfather, made master of the magicians, as12 trologers, Chaldeans, {and) soothsayers ; Forasmuch as an

excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and showing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king

. This could not be his wife, for she was with him, but the queen mother, Nitocris, wife to Nebuchadnezzar, whom heathen historians represent as a prudent woman, and who had the chief adininistration of affairs.

« ZurückWeiter »