The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Whose name was Belteshazzar.—A parenthetic clause, introduced to remind the reader that by this name only Daniel was known to the king. (Comp. Daniel 4:8.)
Art thou able.—The king does not pretend to be ignorant of the person of Daniel. He had, in fact, only recently (Daniel 1:19-20) examined him in “matters of wisdom and understanding.” What surprises him is, that after the wise and experienced had failed to tell him his dream, one so young and a mere novice should succeed.Daniel 2:26-29. The king said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar —
See note on Daniel 1:7; Art thou able to make known to me the dream? &c. — The king seems to have questioned whether he could make his promise good. The less likely, however, it appeared to the king that Daniel should do this, the more God was glorified in enabling him to do it. Daniel answered, Cannot the wise men, &c. — Daniel’s words, as here translated, bear the interrogative form; but not in the original. They seem to be more accurately translated by the LXX., Το μυστηριον ο βασικευς επερωτα ουκ εστι σοφων — αναγγειλαι τω βασιλει, The mystery concerning which the king inquires, it does not belong to the wise men, &c., to declare to the king. Or, as the Vulgate has it, “the wise men cannot declare.” But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets — Daniel assumes nothing to himself, but gives the glory to God alone, whose knowledge, as he tells the king, infinitely exceeds that of all the wise men of Chaldea, and of the gods, or demons, which they consulted, or worshipped. And at the same time he also, with great generosity, pleads the cause of the wise men, who could not tell the dream; alleging in their excuse, that such knowledge was not attainable by any mere human ability; and that he should have been as much at a loss as they, had not God been pleased to reveal it unto him: see Daniel 2:30. The modesty and humility of Daniel, in this whole address to the king, are highly deserving of our notice and imitation. The soothsayers, here mentioned, were not noticed among the several sorts of pretenders to wisdom, named in Daniel 2:2. The word so rendered, derived from גזר, to cut, is thought by some to signify either the aruspices, who examined the liver and entrails of beasts by cutting them open; or those diviners who, by the disposition and combination of numbers, made amulets, or charms, by which they pretended to foretel future events. Rabbi Jacchiades favours the latter opinion, supposing that the aruspices were scarcely known in the East. And maketh known what shall be in the latter days — Or, what shall come to pass hereafter, as it is expressed Daniel 2:29; Daniel 2:45. O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed — Daniel, by way of introduction to his telling the king what had been the subject of his dream, informs him of what he meditated, or thought, before he fell asleep, namely, that he revolved in his mind what should be the future condition of the vast empire which he had erected by his various conquests. This surely must have excited in Nebuchadnezzar a great admiration of the God whom Daniel worshipped.Daniel 1:7. The "king" may have addressed him by this name, and probably did during this interview. This was the name, it would seem, by which he was known in Babylon - a name which implied honor and respectability, as being conferred on one whom it was supposed the principal Babylonian divinity favored.
Art thou able to make known unto me the dream? - One of the first points in the difficulty was to recal "the dream itself," and hence, this was the first inquiry which the king presented. If he could not recal that, of course the matter was at an end, and the law would be suffered to take its course.
Belteshazzar he had given Daniel, he took courage as if he might expect some great thing from him; for the word signifies the keeper of secret treasure, i.e. to lay up and bring forth.
Art thou able, & c.? as if he had said, I question if thou canst, seeing all my wise men cannot do it; canst thou presume to do more than all they? Daniel 1:7, and by which he was known to Nebuchadnezzar; and very likely he called him now by this name, which is the reason of its being mentioned:
art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof? this he said, either as doubting and questioning, or as admiring that one so young should be able to do that, which his seniors, the wise men in Babylon, could not do; or he put this question, as impatient to hear what he must expect from him, whether the performance of his promise, or such an answer as the wise men had given him.The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 26. - The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof? The variations in the versions are here unimportant, save that the Septuagint interpolates "in the Chaldee tongue" before the Babylonian name of Daniel. It is also to be noted that here, as throughout, the Babylonian name of Daniel, in beth the Greek versions, appears as Βαλτάσαρ, the same form in which they give Belshazzar. When Daniel is brought in before the king, Nebuchadnezzar demands if he can fulfil his promise, and tell the dream as well as the interpretation. There is no indication that Nebuchadnezzar remembered anything of the youth who had done well in the examination held in his presence some months before. This certainly is confirmatory of Wieseler's hypothesis. That the king should have forgotten, however, is nothing extraordinary, for the occasions of this kind would be many. Nebuchadnezzar, in the case of the young Hebrew, does not question his willingness to tell him what he wishes, but only his ability. With regard to the wise men, he believed, or professed to believe, in their ability to do what he wished, and reckoned their refusal to answer him as due to obstinacy or treason. It may be that he has moderated somewhat the rancour of his ire, and is willing to recognize their ignorance as to dreams and such light furniture of the mind as not militating against their claim to knowledge in other directions, only for his oath's sake he must demand that the dream be told him by at least some one. It may be that there was a certain emphasis on the pronoun when Nebuchadnezzar demanded of Daniel, "Is there to thee the power to declare to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?" Is there to thee, mere student of the sacred mysteries as thou art, alien as thou art, a hostage from a city whose king I overthrew easily? It certainly must have been strange to Nebuchadnezzar that what the soothsayers, astrologers, and magicians of the court, the highest, and reputed to be the most skilful of their respective guilds, could not do, this young Hebrew proclaimed himself able to perform. It may be observed that while in the narrative the author calls the prophet by his sacred name Daniel, "the Divine judge," here in the presence of Nebuchadnezzar, the court name he had received is introduced. To his friends, to his fellow-countrymen, he is Daniel; but as a court official he is Belteshazzar, or perhaps Belshazzar. It may be that there is intended to be conveyed to us that not only was he introduced into the royal presence as Belshazzar, but that the king addressed him," Belteshazzar (Belshazzar), art thou able?" Ezekiel 46:8. And when the prince cometh, he shall go in by the way to the porch of the gate, and by its way shall he go out. Ezekiel 46:9. And when the people of the land come before Jehovah on the feast days, he who enters through the north gate to worship shall go out through the south gate; and he who enters through the south gate shall go out through the north gate: they shall not return through the gate through which they entered, but go out straight forward. Ezekiel 46:10. And the prince shall enter in the midst of them, when they enter; and when they go out, they shall go out (together). Ezekiel 46:11. And at the feast days and holy days the meat-offering shall be an ephah for the bullock, an ephah for the ram, and for the lambs what his hand may give, and of oil a hin for the ephah. Ezekiel 46:12. And when the prince prepares a voluntary burnt-offering or voluntary peace-offerings to Jehovah, they shall open the gate that looks to the east, and he shall prepare his burnt-offerings and his peace-offering as he does on the Sabbath day; and when he has gone out they shall shut the gate after his going out. - The coming of the people to worship before Jehovah has been already mentioned in Ezekiel 46:3, but only causally, with reference to the position which they were to take behind the prince in case any individuals should come on the Sabbaths or new moons, on which they were not bound to appear. At the high festivals, on the other hand, every one was to come (Deuteronomy 16:16); and for this there follow the necessary directions in Ezekiel 46:9 and Ezekiel 46:10, to prevent crowding and confusion. For the purpose of linking these directions to what comes before, the rule already laid down in Ezekiel 46:2 concerning the entrance and exit of the prince is repeated in Ezekiel 46:8. מועדים is supposed by the commentators to refer to the high festivals of the first and seventh months (Ezekiel 45:21 and Ezekiel 45:25); but מועדים does not apply to the same feasts as those which are called הגּים in Ezekiel 46:11, as we may see from the combination of הגּים and מועדים. הגּים is the term applied to the greater annual feasts, as distinguished from the Sabbaths, new moons, and the day of atonement. The מועדים, on the contrary, are all the times and days sanctified to the Lord, including even the Sabbath (see the comm. on Leviticus 23:2). It is in this sense that מועדים is used here in Ezekiel 46:9, and not הגּים, because what is laid down concerning the entrance and exit of the people, when visiting the temple, is not merely intended to apply to the high festivals, on which the people were bound to appear before Jehovah, but also to such feast days as the Sabbaths and new moons, whenever individuals from among the people were desirous of their own free-will to worship before the Lord. The latter cases were not to be excluded, although, as Ezekiel 46:10 clearly shows, the great feasts were principally kept in mind. For the entrance and exit of the prince in the midst of the people (Ezekiel 46:10) apply to the great yearly feasts alone. The Chetib yeetsee'uw יצאוּ in Ezekiel 46:9 is to be preferred to the easier Keri יצא, and is not merely the more difficult reading, but the more correct reading also, as two kinds of people are mentioned, - those who entered by the north gate and those who entered by the south. Both are to go out walking straight forward; and neither of them is to turn in the court for the purpose of going out by the gate through which he entered. Even in Ezekiel 46:10 יצאוּ is not to be altered, as Hitzig supposes, but to be taken as referring to the prince and the people. - In Ezekiel 46:11, the instructions given in Ezekiel 45:24; Ezekiel 46:5, Ezekiel 46:7, concerning the quantities composing the meat-offering for the different feasts, are repeated here as rules applicable to all festal times. בּהגּים וּבמועדים has been correctly explained as follows: "at the feasts, and generally at all regular (more correctly, established) seasons," cf. Ezekiel 45:17. Only the daily sacrifices are excepted from this rule, other regulations being laid down for them in Ezekiel 46:14. - Ezekiel 46:12. The freewill-offerings could be presented on any week-day. And the rules laid down in Ezekiel 46:1 and Ezekiel 46:2 for the Sabbath-offerings of the prince are extended to cases of this kind, with one modification, namely, that the east gate, which had been opened for the occasion, should be closed again as soon as the sacrificial ceremony was over, and not left open till the evening, as on the Sabbath and new moon. נדבה is a substantive: the freewill-offering, which could be either a burnt-offering or a peace-offering.
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