Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) September 19
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Daniel 1:1--3:30

Context
Daniel Finds Favor in Babylon

1:1 In the third 1  year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar 2  of Babylon advanced against Jerusalem 3  and laid it under siege. 4  1:2 Now the Lord 5  delivered 6  King Jehoiakim of Judah into his power, 7  along with some of the vessels 8  of the temple of God. 9  He brought them to the land of Babylonia 10  to the temple of his god 11  and put 12  the vessels in the treasury of his god.

1:3 The king commanded 13  Ashpenaz, 14  who was in charge of his court officials, 15  to choose 16  some of the Israelites who were of royal and noble descent 17 1:4 young men in whom there was no physical defect and who were handsome, 18  well versed in all kinds of wisdom, well educated 19  and having keen insight, 20  and who were capable 21  of entering the king’s royal service 22  – and to teach them the literature and language 23  of the Babylonians. 24  1:5 So the king assigned them a daily ration 25  from his royal delicacies 26  and from the wine he himself drank. They were to be trained 27  for the next three years. At the end of that time they were to enter the king’s service. 28  1:6 As it turned out, 29  among these young men 30  were some from Judah: 31  Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 32  1:7 But the overseer of the court officials renamed them. He gave 33  Daniel the name Belteshazzar, Hananiah he named Shadrach, Mishael he named Meshach, and Azariah he named Abednego. 34 

1:8 But Daniel made up his mind 35  that he would not defile 36  himself with the royal delicacies or the royal wine. 37  He therefore asked the overseer of the court officials for permission not to defile himself. 1:9 Then God made the overseer of the court officials sympathetic to Daniel. 38  1:10 But he 39  responded to Daniel, “I fear my master the king. He is the one who has decided 40  your food and drink. What would happen if he saw that you looked malnourished in comparison to the other young men your age? 41  If that happened, 42  you would endanger my life 43  with the king!” 1:11 Daniel then spoke to the warden 44  whom the overseer of the court officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 1:12 “Please test your servants for ten days by providing us with some vegetables to eat and water to drink. 1:13 Then compare our appearance 45  with that of 46  the young men who are eating the royal delicacies; 47  deal with us 48  in light of what you see.” 1:14 So the warden 49  agreed to their proposal 50  and tested them for ten 51  days.

1:15 At the end of the ten days their appearance was better and their bodies were healthier 52  than all the young men who had been eating the royal delicacies. 1:16 So the warden removed the delicacies and the wine 53  from their diet 54  and gave them a diet of vegetables instead. 1:17 Now as for these four young men, God endowed them with knowledge and skill in all sorts of literature and wisdom – and Daniel had insight into all kinds of visions and dreams.

1:18 When the time appointed by the king arrived, 55  the overseer of the court officials brought them into Nebuchadnezzar’s presence. 1:19 When the king spoke with them, he did not find among the entire group 56  anyone like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, or Azariah. So they entered the king’s service. 57  1:20 In every matter of wisdom and 58  insight the king asked them about, he found them to be ten times 59  better than any of the magicians and astrologers that were in his entire empire. 1:21 Now Daniel lived on until the first 60  year of Cyrus the king.

Nebuchadnezzar Has a Disturbing Dream

2:1 In the second year of his 61  reign Nebuchadnezzar had many dreams. 62  His mind 63  was disturbed and he suffered from insomnia. 64  2:2 The king issued an order 65  to summon the magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and wise men 66  in order to explain his dreams to him. 67  So they came and awaited the king’s instructions. 68 

2:3 The king told them, “I have had a dream, 69  and I 70  am anxious to understand the dream.” 2:4 The wise men replied to the king: [What follows is in Aramaic 71 ] “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will disclose its 72  interpretation.” 2:5 The king replied 73  to the wise men, “My decision is firm. 74  If you do not inform me of both the dream and its interpretation, you will be dismembered 75  and your homes reduced to rubble! 2:6 But if you can disclose the dream and its interpretation, you will receive from me gifts, a reward, and considerable honor. So disclose to me the dream and its interpretation!” 2:7 They again replied, “Let the king inform us 76  of the dream; then we will disclose its 77  interpretation.” 2:8 The king replied, “I know for sure that you are attempting to gain time, because you see that my decision is firm. 2:9 If you don’t inform me of the dream, there is only one thing that is going to happen to you. 78  For you have agreed among yourselves to report to me something false and deceitful 79  until such time as things might change. So tell me the dream, and I will have confidence 80  that you can disclose its interpretation.”

2:10 The wise men replied to the king, “There is no man on earth who is able to disclose the king’s secret, 81  for no king, regardless of his position and power, has ever requested such a thing from any magician, astrologer, or wise man. 2:11 What the king is asking is too difficult, and no one exists who can disclose it to the king, except for the gods – but they don’t live among mortals!” 82 

2:12 Because of this the king got furiously angry 83  and gave orders to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. 2:13 So a decree went out, and the wise men were about 84  to be executed. They also sought 85  Daniel and his friends so that they could be executed.

2:14 Then Daniel spoke with prudent counsel 86  to Arioch, who was in charge of the king’s executioners and who had gone out to execute the wise men of Babylon. 2:15 He inquired of Arioch the king’s deputy, “Why is the decree from the king so urgent?” 87  Then Arioch informed Daniel about the matter. 2:16 So Daniel went in and 88  requested the king to grant him time, that he might disclose the interpretation to the king. 2:17 Then Daniel went to his home and informed his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the matter. 2:18 He asked them to pray for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery so that he 89  and his friends would not be destroyed along with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 2:19 Then in a night vision the mystery was revealed to Daniel. So Daniel praised 90  the God of heaven, 2:20 saying, 91 

“Let the name of God 92  be praised 93  forever and ever,

for wisdom and power belong to him.

2:21 He changes times and seasons,

deposing some kings

and establishing others. 94 

He gives wisdom to the wise;

he imparts knowledge to those with understanding; 95 

2:22 he reveals deep and hidden things.

He knows what is in the darkness,

and light resides with him.

2:23 O God of my fathers, I acknowledge and glorify you,

for you have bestowed wisdom and power on me.

Now you have enabled me to understand what I 96  requested from you.

For you have enabled me to understand the king’s dilemma.” 97 

2:24 Then Daniel went in to see 98  Arioch (whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon). He came 99  and said to him, “Don’t destroy the wise men of Babylon! Escort me 100  to the king, and I will disclose the interpretation to him!” 101 

2:25 So Arioch quickly ushered Daniel into the king’s presence, saying to him, “I 102  have found a man from the captives of Judah who can make known the interpretation to the king.” 2:26 The king then asked Daniel (whose name was also Belteshazzar), “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I saw, as well as its interpretation?” 2:27 Daniel replied to the king, “The mystery that the king is asking about is such that no wise men, astrologers, magicians, or diviners can possibly disclose it to the king. 2:28 However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, 103  and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the times to come. 104  The dream and the visions you had while lying on your bed 105  are as follows.

2:29 “As for you, O king, while you were in your bed your thoughts turned to future things. 106  The revealer of mysteries has made known to you what will take place. 2:30 As for me, this mystery was revealed to me not because I possess more wisdom 107  than any other living person, but so that the king may understand 108  the interpretation and comprehend the thoughts of your mind. 109 

2:31 “You, O king, were watching as a great statue – one 110  of impressive size and extraordinary brightness – was standing before you. Its appearance caused alarm. 2:32 As for that statue, its head was of fine gold, its chest and arms were of silver, its belly and thighs were of bronze. 2:33 Its legs were of iron; its feet were partly of iron and partly of clay. 111  2:34 You were watching as 112  a stone was cut out, 113  but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its iron and clay feet, breaking them in pieces. 2:35 Then the iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold were broken in pieces without distinction 114  and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors that the wind carries away. Not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a large mountain that filled the entire earth. 2:36 This was the dream. Now we 115  will set forth before the king its interpretation.

Daniel Interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

2:37 “You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has granted you sovereignty, power, strength, and honor. 2:38 Wherever human beings, 116  wild animals, 117  and birds of the sky live – he has given them into your power. 118  He has given you authority over them all. You are the head of gold. 2:39 Now after you another kingdom 119  will arise, one inferior to yours. Then a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule in all the earth. 2:40 Then there will be a fourth kingdom, one strong like iron. Just like iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything, and as iron breaks in pieces 120  all of these metals, 121  so it will break in pieces and crush the others. 122  2:41 In that you were seeing feet and toes 123  partly of wet clay 124  and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom. Some of the strength of iron will be in it, for you saw iron mixed with wet clay. 125  2:42 In that the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, the latter stages of this kingdom will be partly strong and partly fragile. 2:43 And 126  in that you saw iron mixed with wet clay, so people will be mixed 127  with one another 128  without adhering to one another, just as 129  iron does not mix with clay. 2:44 In the days of those kings the God of heaven will raise up an everlasting kingdom that will not be destroyed and a kingdom that will not be left to another people. It will break in pieces and bring about the demise of all these kingdoms. But it will stand forever. 2:45 You saw that a stone was cut from a mountain, but not by human hands; it smashed the iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold into pieces. The great God has made known to the king what will occur in the future. 130  The dream is certain, and its interpretation is reliable.”

2:46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar bowed down with his face to the ground 131  and paid homage to Daniel. He gave orders to offer sacrifice and incense to him. 2:47 The king replied to Daniel, “Certainly your God is a God of gods and Lord of kings and revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery!” 2:48 Then the king elevated Daniel to high position and bestowed on him many marvelous gifts. He granted him authority over the entire province of Babylon and made him the main prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. 2:49 And at Daniel’s request, the king 132  appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the administration of the province of Babylon. Daniel himself served in the king’s court. 133 

Daniel’s Friends Are Tested

3:1 134 King Nebuchadnezzar had a golden 135  statue made. 136  It was ninety feet 137  tall and nine feet 138  wide. He erected it on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 3:2 Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent out a summons to assemble the satraps, prefects, governors, counselors, treasurers, judges, magistrates, 139  and all the other authorities of the province to attend the dedication of the statue that he 140  had erected. 3:3 So the satraps, prefects, governors, counselors, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the other provincial authorities assembled for the dedication of the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had erected. They were standing in front of the statue that Nebuchadnezzar had erected. 141 

3:4 Then the herald 142  made a loud 143  proclamation: “To you, O peoples, nations, and language groups, the following command is given: 144  3:5 When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, 145  trigon, harp, pipes, and all kinds of music, you must 146  bow down and pay homage to the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has erected. 3:6 Whoever does not bow down and pay homage will immediately 147  be thrown into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire!” 3:7 Therefore when they all 148  heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, trigon, harp, pipes, 149  and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations, and language groups began bowing down and paying homage to the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had erected.

3:8 Now 150  at that time certain 151  Chaldeans came forward and brought malicious accusations against 152  the Jews. 3:9 They said 153  to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 154  3:10 You have issued an edict, O king, that everyone must bow down and pay homage to the golden statue when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, trigon, harp, pipes, and all kinds of music. 3:11 And whoever does not bow down and pay homage must be thrown into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire. 3:12 But there are Jewish men whom you appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – and these men 155  have not shown proper respect to you, O king. They don’t serve your gods and they don’t pay homage to the golden statue that you have erected.”

3:13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in a fit of rage 156  demanded that they bring 157  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego before him. So they brought them 158  before the king. 3:14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you don’t serve my gods and that you don’t pay homage to the golden statue that I erected? 3:15 Now if you are ready, when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, trigon, harp, pipes, and all kinds of music, you must bow down and pay homage to the statue that I had made. If you don’t pay homage to it, you will immediately be thrown into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire. Now, who is that god who can rescue you from my power?” 159  3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, 160  “We do not need to give you a reply 161  concerning this. 3:17 If 162  our God whom we are serving exists, 163  he is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and he will rescue us, O king, from your power as well. 3:18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we don’t serve your gods, and we will not pay homage to the golden statue that you have erected.”

3:19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with rage, and his disposition changed 164  toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He gave orders 165  to heat the furnace seven times hotter than it was normally heated. 3:20 He ordered strong 166  soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. 3:21 So those men were tied up while still wearing their cloaks, trousers, turbans, and other clothes, 167  and were thrown into the furnace 168  of blazing fire. 3:22 But since the king’s command was so urgent, and the furnace was so excessively hot, the men who escorted 169  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were killed 170  by the leaping flames. 171  3:23 But those three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell into the furnace 172  of blazing fire while still securely bound. 173 

God Delivers His Servants

3:24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was startled and quickly got up. He said to his ministers, “Wasn’t it three men that we tied up and threw 174  into 175  the fire?” They replied to the king, “For sure, O king.” 3:25 He answered, “But I see four men, untied and walking around in the midst of the fire! No harm has come to them! And the appearance of the fourth is like that of a god!” 176  3:26 Then Nebuchadnezzar approached the door of the furnace of blazing fire. He called out, 177  “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the most high God, come out! Come here!”

Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego emerged from the fire. 178  3:27 Once the satraps, prefects, governors, and ministers of the king had gathered around, they saw that those men were physically 179  unharmed by the fire. 180  The hair of their heads was not singed, nor were their trousers damaged. Not even the smell of fire was to be found on them!

3:28 Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, 181  “Praised be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent forth his angel 182  and has rescued his servants who trusted in him, ignoring 183  the edict of the king and giving up their bodies rather than 184  serve or pay homage to any god other than their God! 3:29 I hereby decree 185  that any people, nation, or language group that blasphemes 186  the god of Shadrach, Meshach, or Abednego will be dismembered and his home reduced to rubble! For there exists no other god who can deliver in this way.” 3:30 Then Nebuchadnezzar 187  promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

1 sn The third year of the reign of Jehoiakim would be ca. 605 B.C. At this time Daniel would have been a teenager. The reference to Jehoiakim’s third year poses a serious crux interpretum, since elsewhere these events are linked to his fourth year (Jer 25:1; cf. 2 Kgs 24:1; 2 Chr 36:5-8). Apparently Daniel is following an accession year chronology, whereby the first partial year of a king’s reign was reckoned as the accession year rather than as the first year of his reign. Jeremiah, on the other hand, is following a nonaccession year chronology, whereby the accession year is reckoned as the first year of the king’s reign. In that case, the conflict is only superficial. Most modern scholars, however, have concluded that Daniel is historically inaccurate here.

2 sn King Nebuchadnezzar ruled Babylon from ca. 605-562 B.C.

3 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

4 sn This attack culminated in the first of three major deportations of Jews to Babylon. The second one occurred in 597 B.C. and included among many other Jewish captives the prophet Ezekiel. The third deportation occurred in 586 B.C., at which time the temple and the city of Jerusalem were thoroughly destroyed.

5 tn The Hebrew term translated “Lord” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).

6 tn Heb “gave.”

7 tn Heb “hand,” which is often used idiomatically for one’s power and authority. See BDB 390 s.v. יָד 2.

8 tn Or “utensils”; or “articles.”

9 tn Heb “house of God.”

10 sn The land of Babylonia (Heb “the land of Shinar”) is another name for Sumer and Akkad, where Babylon was located (cf. Gen 10:10; 11:2; 14:1, 9; Josh 7:21; Isa 11:11; Zech 5:11).

11 tn Or “gods” (NCV, NRSV, TEV; also later in this verse). The Hebrew term can be used as a numerical plural for many gods or as a plural of majesty for one particular god. Since Nebuchadnezzar was a polytheist, it is not clear if the reference here is to many gods or one particular deity. The plural of majesty, while normally used for Israel’s God, is occasionally used of foreign gods (cf. BDB 43 s.v. אֱלֹהִים 1, 2). See Judg 11:24 (of the Moabite god Chemosh); 1 Sam 5:7 (of the Philistine god Dagon); 1 Kgs 11:33 (of the Canaanite goddess Astarte, the Moabite god Chemosh, and the Ammonite god Milcom); 2 Kgs 19:37 (of the Assyrian god Nisroch). Since gods normally had their own individual temples, Dan 1:2 probably refers to a particular deity, perhaps Marduk, the supreme god of Babylon, or Marduk’s son Nabu, after whom Nebuchadnezzar was named. The name Nebuchadnezzar means “Nabu has protected the son who will inherit” (HALOT 660 s.v. נְבוּכַדְרֶאצַּר). For a discussion of how temples functioned in Babylonian religion see H. Ringgren, Religions of the Ancient Near East, 77-81.

12 tn Heb “brought.” Though the Hebrew verb “brought” is repeated in this verse, the translation uses “brought…put” for stylistic variation.

13 tn Or “gave orders to.” Heb “said to.”

14 sn It is possible that the word Ashpenaz is not a proper name at all, but a general term for “innkeeper.” See J. J. Collins, Daniel (Hermeneia), 127, n. 9. However, the ancient versions understand the term to be a name, and the present translation (along with most English versions) understands the word in this way.

15 sn The word court official (Hebrew saris) need not mean “eunuch” in a technical sense (see Gen 37:36, where the term refers to Potiphar, who had a wife), although in the case of the book of Daniel there was in Jewish literature a common tradition to that effect. On the OT usage of this word see HALOT 769-70 s.v. סָרֹיס.

16 tn Heb “bring.”

17 tn Heb “and from the seed of royalty and from the nobles.”

18 tn Heb “good of appearance.”

19 tn Heb “knowers of knowledge.”

20 tn Heb “understanders of knowledge.”

21 tn Heb “who had strength.”

22 tn Heb “to stand in the palace of the king.” Cf. vv. 5, 19.

23 sn The language of the Chaldeans referred to here is Akkadian, an East Semitic cuneiform language.

24 tn Heb “Chaldeans” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV). This is an ancient name for the Babylonians.

25 tn Heb “a thing of a day in its day.”

26 tn Heb “from the delicacies of the king.”

27 tn Or “educated.” See HALOT 179 s.v. I גדל.

28 tn Heb “stand before the king.”

29 tn Heb “and it happened that.”

30 tn Heb “among them”; the referent (the young men taken captive from Judah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

31 tn Heb “the sons of Judah.”

32 sn The names reflect a Jewish heritage. In Hebrew Daniel means “God is my judge”; Hananiah means “the Lord is gracious”; Mishael means “who is what God is?”; Azariah means “the Lord has helped.”

33 tc The LXX and Vulgate lack the verb here.

34 sn The meanings of the Babylonian names are more conjectural than is the case with the Hebrew names. The probable etymologies are as follows: Belteshazzar means “protect his life,” although the MT vocalization may suggest “Belti, protect the king” (cf. Dan 4:8); Shadrach perhaps means “command of Aku”; Meshach is of uncertain meaning; Abednego means “servant of Nego.” Assigning Babylonian names to the Hebrew youths may have been an attempt to erase from their memory their Israelite heritage.

35 tn Heb “placed on his heart.”

36 tn Or “would not make himself ceremonially unclean”; TEV “become ritually unclean.”

sn Various reasons have been suggested as to why such food would defile Daniel. Perhaps it had to do with violations of Mosaic law with regard to unclean foods, or perhaps it had to do with such food having been offered to idols. Daniel’s practice in this regard is strikingly different from that of Esther, who was able successfully to conceal her Jewish identity.

37 tn Heb “with the delicacies of the king and with the wine of his drinking.”

38 tn Heb “Then God granted Daniel loyal love and compassion before the overseer of the court officials.” The expression “loyal love and compassion” is a hendiadys; the two words combine to express one idea.

39 tn Heb “The overseer of the court officials.” The subject has been specified in the translation for the sake of clarity.

40 tn Heb “assigned.” See v. 5.

41 tn Heb “Why should he see your faces thin from the young men who are according to your age?” The term translated “thin” occurs only here and in Gen 40:6, where it appears to refer to a dejected facial expression. The word is related to an Arabic root meaning “be weak.” See HALOT 277 s.v. II זעף.

42 tn The words “if that happened” are not in the Hebrew text but have been added in the translation for clarity.

43 tn Heb “my head.” Presumably this is an implicit reference to capital punishment (cf. NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT), although this is not entirely clear.

44 sn Having failed to convince the overseer, Daniel sought the favor of the warden whom the overseer had appointed to care for the young men.

45 tn Heb “let our appearance be seen before you.”

46 tn Heb “the appearance of.”

47 tn Heb “delicacies of the king.” So also in v. 15.

48 tn Heb “your servants.”

49 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the warden mentioned in v. 11) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

50 tn Heb “listened to them with regard to this matter.”

51 sn The number ten is sometimes used in the OT as an ideal number of completeness. Cf. v. 20; Zech 8:23; Rev 2:10.

52 tn Heb “fat of flesh”; KJV, ASV “fatter in flesh”; NASB, NRSV “fatter” (although this is no longer a sign of health in Western culture).

53 tn Heb “the wine of their drinking.”

54 tn The words “from their diet” are not in the Hebrew text but have been added in the translation for clarity.

55 tn Heb “at the end of the days which the king said to bring them.”

56 tn Heb “from all of them.”

57 tn Heb “stood before the king.”

58 tc The MT lacks the conjunction, reading the first word in the phrase as a construct (“wisdom of insight”). While this reading is not impossible, it seems better to follow Theodotion, the Syriac, the Vulgate, and the Sahidic Coptic, all of which have the conjunction.

59 tn Heb “hands.”

60 sn The Persian king Cyrus’ first year in control of Babylon was 539 B.C. Daniel actually lived beyond the first year of Cyrus, as is clear from 10:1. The purpose of the statement in 1:21 is merely to say that Daniel’s life spanned the entire period of the neo-Babylonian empire. His life span also included the early years of the Persian control of Babylon. However, by that time his age was quite advanced; he probably died sometime in the 530’s B.C.

61 tn Heb “Nebuchadnezzar’s.” The possessive pronoun is substituted in the translation for stylistic reasons.

62 tn Heb “dreamed dreams.” The plural is used here and in v. 2, but the singular in v. 3. The plural “dreams” has been variously explained. Some interpreters take the plural as denoting an indefinite singular (so GKC 400 §124.o). But it may be that it is describing a stream of related dreams, or a dream state. In the latter case, one might translate: “Nebuchadnezzar was in a trance.” See further, J. A. Montgomery, Daniel (ICC), 142.

63 tn Heb “his spirit.”

64 tn Heb “his sleep left (?) him.” The use of the verb הָיָה (hayah, “to be”) here is unusual. The context suggests a meaning such as “to be finished” or “gone.” Cf. Dan 8:27. Some scholars emend the verb to read נָדְדָה (nadÿdah, “fled”); cf. Dan 6:19. See further, DCH 2:540 s.v. היה I Ni.3; HALOT 244 s.v. היה nif; BDB 227-28 s.v. הָיָה Niph.2.

65 tn Heb “said.” So also in v. 12.

66 tn Heb “Chaldeans.” The term Chaldeans (Hebrew כַּשְׂדִּים, kasdim) is used in the book of Daniel both in an ethnic sense and, as here, to refer to a caste of Babylonian wise men and astrologers.

67 tn Heb “to explain to the king his dreams.”

68 tn Heb “stood before the king.”

69 tn Heb “I have dreamed a dream” (so KJV, ASV).

70 tn Heb “my spirit.”

71 sn Contrary to common belief, the point here is not that the wise men (Chaldeans) replied to the king in the Aramaic language, or that this language was uniquely the language of the Chaldeans. It was this view that led in the past to Aramaic being referred to as “Chaldee.” Aramaic was used as a lingua franca during this period; its origins and usage were not restricted to the Babylonians. Rather, this phrase is better understood as an editorial note (cf. NAB) marking the fact that from 2:4b through 7:28 the language of the book shifts from Hebrew to Aramaic. In 8:1, and for the remainder of the book, the language returns to Hebrew. Various views have been advanced to account for this change of language, most of which are unconvincing. Most likely the change in language is a reflection of stages in the transmission history of the book of Daniel.

72 tn Or “the.”

73 tn Aram “answered and said,” a common idiom to indicate a reply, but redundant in contemporary English.

74 tn It seems clear from what follows that Nebuchadnezzar clearly recalls the content of the dream, although obviously he does not know what to make of it. By not divulging the dream itself to the would-be interpreters, he intends to find out whether they are simply leading him on. If they can tell him the dream’s content, which he is able to verify, he then can have confidence in their interpretation, which is what eludes him. The translation “the matter is gone from me” (cf. KJV, ASV), suggesting that the king had simply forgotten the dream, is incorrect. The Aramaic word used here (אַזְדָּא, ’azda’) is probably of Persian origin; it occurs in the OT only here and in v. 8. There are two main possibilities for the meaning of the word: “the matter is promulgated by me” (see KBL 1048 s.v.) and therefore “publicly known” (cf. NRSV; F. Rosenthal, Grammar, 62-63, §189), or “the matter is irrevocable” (cf. NAB, NIV, TEV, CEV, NLT; HALOT 1808 s.v. אזד; cf. also BDB 1079 s.v.). The present translation reflects this latter option. See further E. Vogt, Lexicon linguae aramaicae, 3.

75 tn Aram “made limbs.” Cf. 3:29.

76 tn Aram “his servants.”

77 tn Or “the.”

78 tn Aram “one is your law,” i.e., only one thing is applicable to you.

79 tn Aram “a lying and corrupt word.”

80 tn Aram “I will know.”

81 tn Aram “matter, thing.”

82 tn Aram “whose dwelling is not with flesh.”

83 tn Aram “was angry and very furious.” The expression is a hendiadys (two words or phrases expressing a single idea).

84 tn The Aramaic participle is used here to express the imminent future.

85 tn The impersonal active plural (“they sought”) of the Aramaic verb could also be translated as an English passive: “Daniel and his friends were sought” (cf. NAB).

86 tn Aram “returned prudence and counsel.” The expression is a hendiadys.

87 tn The Aramaic word מְהַחְצְפָה (mÿhakhtsÿfah) may refer to the severity of the king’s decree (i.e., “harsh”; so HALOT 1879 s.v. חצף; BDB 1093 s.v. חֲצַף), although it would seem that in a delicate situation such as this Daniel would avoid this kind of criticism of the king’s actions. The translation above understands the word to refer to the immediacy, not harshness, of the decree. See further, F. Rosenthal, Grammar, 50, §116; E. Vogt, Lexicon linguae aramaicae, 67.

88 tc Theodotion and the Syriac lack the words “went in and.”

89 tn Aram “Daniel.” The proper name is redundant here in English, and has not been included in the translation.

90 tn Or “blessed.”

91 tn Aram “Daniel answered and said.”

92 sn As is often the case in the Bible, here the name represents the person.

93 tn Or “blessed.”

94 tn Aram “kings.”

95 tn Aram “the knowers of understanding.”

96 tn Aram “we.” Various explanations have been offered for the plural, but it is probably best understood as the editorial plural; so also with “me” later in this verse.

97 tn Aram “the word of the king.”

98 tc The MT has עַל עַל (’alal, “he entered upon”). Several medieval Hebrew MSS lack the verb, although this may be due to haplography.

99 tc The LXX and Vulgate, along with one medieval Hebrew MS, lack this verb.

100 tn Aram “cause me to enter.” So also in v. 25.

101 tn Aram “the king.”

102 sn Arioch’s claim is self-serving and exaggerated. It is Daniel who came to him, and not the other way around. By claiming to have found one capable of solving the king’s dilemma, Arioch probably hoped to ingratiate himself to the king.

103 tn Aram “a revealer of mysteries.” The phrase serves as a quasi-title for God in Daniel.

104 tn Aram “in the latter days.”

105 tn Aram “your dream and the visions of your head upon your bed.”

106 tn Aram “your thoughts upon your bed went up to what will be after this.”

107 tn Aram “not for any wisdom which is in me more than [in] any living man.”

108 tn Aram “they might cause the king to know.” The impersonal plural is used here to refer to the role of God’s spirit in revealing the dream and its interpretation to the king. As J. A. Montgomery says, “it appropriately here veils the mysterious agency” (Daniel [ICC], 164-65).

109 tn Aram “heart.”

110 tn Aram “an image.”

111 sn Clay refers to baked clay, which – though hard – was also fragile. Cf. the reference in v. 41 to “wet clay.”

112 tn Aram “until.”

113 tc The LXX, Theodotion, and the Vulgate have “from a mountain,” though this is probably a harmonization with v. 45.

114 tn Aram “as one.” For the meaning “without distinction” see the following: F. Rosenthal, Grammar, 36, §64, and p. 93; E. Vogt, Lexicon linguae aramaicae, 60.

115 tn Various suggestions have been made concerning the plural “we.” It is probably the editorial plural and could be translated here as “I.”

116 tn Aram “the sons of man.”

117 tn Aram “the beasts of the field.”

118 tn Aram “hand.”

119 sn The identity of the first kingdom is clearly Babylon. The identification of the following three kingdoms is disputed. The common view is that they represent Media, Persia, and Greece. Most conservative scholars identify them as Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome.

120 tc Theodotion and the Vulgate lack the phrase “and as iron breaks in pieces.”

121 tn The Aramaic text does not have this word, but it has been added in the translation for clarity.

122 tn The words “the others” are supplied from the context.

123 tc The LXX lacks “and toes.”

124 tn Aram “potter’s clay.”

125 tn Aram “clay of clay” (also in v. 43).

126 tc The present translation reads the conjunction, with most medieval Hebrew MSS, LXX, Vulgate, and the Qere. The Kethib lacks the conjunction.

127 sn The reference to people being mixed is usually understood to refer to intermarriage.

128 tn Aram “with the seed of men.”

129 tc The present translation reads הֵיךְ דִּי (hekh diy) rather than the MT הֵא־כְדִי (he-khÿdi). It is a case of wrong word division.

130 tn Aram “after this.”

131 tn Aram “fell on his face.”

132 tn Aram “and Daniel sought from the king and he appointed.”

133 tn Aram “was at the gate of the king.”

134 sn The LXX introduces this chapter with the following chronological note: “in the eighteenth year of.” Such a date would place these events at about the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. (cf. 2 Kgs 25:8). However, there seems to be no real basis for associating the events of Daniel 3 with this date.

135 sn There is no need to think of Nebuchadnezzar’s image as being solid gold. No doubt the sense is that it was overlaid with gold (cf. Isa 40:19; Jer 10:3-4), with the result that it presented a dazzling self-compliment to the greatness of Nebuchadnezzar’s achievements.

136 sn According to a number of patristic authors, the image represented a deification of Nebuchadnezzar himself. This is not clear from the biblical text, however.

137 tn Aram “sixty cubits.” Assuming a length of 18 inches for the standard cubit, the image would be 90 feet (27.4 m) high.

138 tn Aram “six cubits.” Assuming a length of 18 inches for the standard cubit, the image would be 9 feet (2.74 m) wide.

sn The dimensions of the image (ninety feet high and nine feet wide) imply that it did not possess normal human proportions, unless a base for the image is included in the height dimension. The ancient world knew of other tall statues. For example, the Colossus of Rhodes – the huge statue of Helios which stood (ca. 280-224 B.C.) at the entrance to the harbor at Rhodes and was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world – was said to be seventy cubits (105 ft or 32 m) in height, which would make it even taller than Nebuchadnezzar’s image.

139 sn The specific duties of the seven types of officials listed here (cf. vv. 3, 27) are unclear. The Aramaic words that are used are transliterations of Akkadian or Persian technical terms whose exact meanings are uncertain. The translations given here follow suggestions set forth in BDB.

140 tn Aram “Nebuchadnezzar the king.” The proper name and title have been replaced by the relative pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

141 tc The LXX and Theodotion lack the words “that Nebuchadnezzar had erected.”

142 tn According to BDB 1097 s.v. כָּרוֹז the Aramaic word used here is a Greek loanword, but other scholars have argued instead for a Persian derivation (HALOT 1902 s.v. *כָּרוֹז).

143 tn Aram “in strength.”

144 tn Aram “they are saying.”

145 sn The word zither (Aramaic קִיתָרוֹס [qitaros]), and the words for harp (Aramaic פְּסַנְתֵּרִין [pÿsanterin]) and pipes (Aramaic סוּמְפֹּנְיָה [sumponÿyah]), are of Greek derivation. Though much has been made of this in terms of suggesting a date in the Hellenistic period for the writing of the book, it is not surprising that a few Greek cultural terms, all of them the names of musical instruments, should appear in this book. As a number of scholars have pointed out, the bigger surprise (if, in fact, the book is to be dated to the Hellenistic period) may be that there are so few Greek loanwords in Daniel.

146 tn The imperfect Aramaic verbs have here an injunctive nuance.

147 tn Aram “in that hour.”

148 tn Aram “all the peoples.”

149 tc Though not in the Aramaic text of BHS, this word appears in many medieval Hebrew MSS, some LXX MSS, and Vulgate. Cf. vv. 5, 10, 15.

150 tc This expression is absent in Theodotion.

151 tn Aram “men.”

152 tn Aram “ate the pieces of.” This is a rather vivid idiom for slander.

153 tn Aram “answered and said,” a common Aramaic idiom that occurs repeatedly in this chapter.

154 sn O king, live forever! is a comment of typical court courtesy that is not necessarily indicative of the real sentiments of the speaker. Ancient oriental court protocol could sometimes require a certain amount of hypocrisy.

155 sn Daniel’s absence from this scene has sparked the imagination of commentators, some of whom have suggested that perhaps he was unable to attend the dedication due to sickness or due to being away on business. Hippolytus supposed that Daniel may have been watching from a distance.

156 tn Aram “in anger and wrath”; NASB “in rage and anger.” The expression is a hendiadys.

157 tn The Aramaic infinitive is active.

158 tn Aram “these men.” The pronoun is used in the translation to avoid undue repetition.

159 tn Aram “hand.” So also in v. 17.

160 tc In the MT this word is understood to begin the following address (“answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar’”). However, it seems unlikely that Nebuchadnezzar’s subordinates would address the king in such a familiar way, particularly in light of the danger that they now found themselves in. The present translation implies moving the atnach from “king” to “Nebuchadnezzar.”

161 tn Aram “to return a word to you.”

162 tc The ancient versions typically avoid the conditional element of v. 17.

163 tn The Aramaic expression used here is very difficult to interpret. The question concerns the meaning and syntax of אִיתַי (’itay, “is” or “exist”). There are several possibilities. (1) Some interpreters take this word closely with the participle later in the verse יָכִל (yakhil, “able”), understanding the two words to form a periphrastic construction (“if our God is…able”; cf. H. Bauer and P. Leander, Grammatik des Biblisch-Aramäischen, 365, §111b). But the separation of the two elements from one another is not an argument in favor of this understanding. (2) Other interpreters take the first part of v. 17 to mean “If it is so, then our God will deliver us” (cf. KJV, ASV, RSV, NASB). However, the normal sense of itay is existence; on this point see F. Rosenthal, Grammar, 45, §95. The present translation maintains the sense of existence for the verb (“If our God…exists”), even though the statement is admittedly difficult to understand in this light. The statement may be an implicit reference back to Nebuchadnezzar’s comment in v. 15, which denies the existence of a god capable of delivering from the king’s power.

164 tn Aram “the appearance of his face was altered”; cf. NLT “his face became distorted with rage”; NAB “[his] face became livid with utter rage.”

165 tn Aram “he answered and said.”

166 tn This is sometimes taken as a comparative: “[some of the] strongest.”

167 sn There is a great deal of uncertainty with regard to the specific nature of these items of clothing.

168 tn Aram “into the midst of the furnace.” For stylistic reasons the words “the midst of” have been left untranslated.

169 tn Aram “caused to go up.”

170 tn The Aramaic verb is active.

171 tn Aram “the flame of the fire” (so KJV, ASV, NASB); NRSV “the raging flames.”

172 tn Aram “into the midst of the furnace.” For stylistic reasons the words “the midst of” have been left untranslated.

173 sn The deuterocanonical writings known as The Prayer of Azariah and The Song of the Three present at this point a confession and petition for God’s forgiveness and a celebration of God’s grace for the three Jewish youths in the fiery furnace. Though not found in the Hebrew/Aramaic text of Daniel, these compositions do appear in the ancient Greek versions.

174 tn Aram “we threw…bound.”

175 tn Aram “into the midst of.”

176 sn The phrase like that of a god is in Aramaic “like that of a son of the gods.” Many patristic writers understood this phrase in a christological sense (i.e., “the Son of God”). But it should be remembered that these are words spoken by a pagan who is seeking to explain things from his own polytheistic frame of reference; for him the phrase “like a son of the gods” is equivalent to “like a divine being.”

177 tn Aram “answered and said.”

178 tn Aram “from the midst of the fire.” For stylistic reasons the words “the midst of” have been left untranslated.

179 tn Aram “in their bodies.”

180 tn Aram “the fire did not have power.”

181 tn Aram “answered and said.”

182 sn The king identifies the “son of the gods” (v. 25) as an angel. Comparable Hebrew expressions are used elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible for the members of God’s angelic assembly (see Gen 6:2, 4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Pss 29:1; 89:6). An angel later comes to rescue Daniel from the lions (Dan 6:22).

183 tn Aram “they changed” or “violated.”

184 tn Aram “so that they might not.”

185 tn Aram “from me is placed an edict.”

186 tn Aram “speaks negligence.”

187 tn Aram “and the king.” The proper name has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.



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