Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) September 20
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Daniel 4:1--6:28

Context

4:1 (3:31) 1  “King Nebuchadnezzar, to all peoples, nations, and language groups that live in all the land: Peace and prosperity! 2  4:2 I am delighted to tell you about the signs and wonders that the most high God has done for me.

4:3 “How great are his signs!

How mighty are his wonders!

His kingdom will last forever, 3 

and his authority continues from one generation to the next.”

Nebuchadnezzar Dreams of a Tree Chopped Down

4:4 (4:1) 4  I, Nebuchadnezzar, was relaxing in my home, 5  living luxuriously 6  in my palace. 4:5 I saw a dream that 7  frightened me badly. The things I imagined while lying on my bed – these visions of my mind – were terrifying me. 4:6 So I issued an order 8  for all the wise men of Babylon to be brought 9  before me so that they could make known to me the interpretation of the dream. 4:7 When the magicians, astrologers, wise men, and diviners entered, I recounted the dream for them. But they were unable to make known its interpretation to me. 4:8 Later Daniel entered (whose name is Belteshazzar after the name of my god, 10  and in whom there is a spirit of the holy gods). I recounted the dream for him as well, 4:9 saying, “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, in whom I know there to be a spirit of the holy gods and whom no mystery baffles, consider 11  my dream that I saw and set forth its interpretation! 4:10 Here are the visions of my mind 12  while I was on my bed.

While I was watching,

there was a tree in the middle of the land. 13 

It was enormously tall. 14 

4:11 The tree grew large and strong.

Its top reached far into the sky;

it could be seen 15  from the borders of all the land. 16 

4:12 Its foliage was attractive and its fruit plentiful;

on it there was food enough for all.

Under it the wild animals 17  used to seek shade,

and in its branches the birds of the sky used to nest.

All creatures 18  used to feed themselves from it.

4:13 While I was watching in my mind’s visions 19  on my bed,

a holy sentinel 20  came down from heaven.

4:14 He called out loudly 21  as follows: 22 

‘Chop down the tree and lop off its branches!

Strip off its foliage

and scatter its fruit!

Let the animals flee from under it

and the birds from its branches!

4:15 But leave its taproot 23  in the ground,

with a band of iron and bronze around it 24 

surrounded by the grass of the field.

Let it become damp with the dew of the sky,

and let it live with 25  the animals in the grass of the land.

4:16 Let his mind 26  be altered from that of a human being,

and let an animal’s mind be given to him,

and let seven periods of time 27  go by for 28  him.

4:17 This announcement is by the decree of the sentinels;

this decision is by the pronouncement of the holy ones,

so that 29  those who are alive may understand

that the Most High has authority over human kingdoms, 30 

and he bestows them on whomever he wishes.

He establishes over them even the lowliest of human beings.’

4:18 “This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare its 31  interpretation, for none of the wise men in 32  my kingdom are able to make known to me the interpretation. But you can do so, for a spirit of the holy gods is in you.”

Daniel Interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

4:19 Then Daniel (whose name is also Belteshazzar) was upset for a brief time; 33  his thoughts were alarming him. The king said, “Belteshazzar, don’t let the dream and its interpretation alarm you.” But Belteshazzar replied, “Sir, 34  if only the dream were for your enemies and its interpretation applied to your adversaries! 4:20 The tree that you saw that grew large and strong, whose top reached to the sky, and which could be seen 35  in all the land, 4:21 whose foliage was attractive and its fruit plentiful, and from which there was food available for all, under whose branches wild animals 36  used to live, and in whose branches birds of the sky used to nest – 4:22 it is you, 37  O king! For you have become great and strong. Your greatness is such that it reaches to heaven, and your authority to the ends of the earth. 4:23 As for the king seeing a holy sentinel coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its taproot in the ground, with a band of iron and bronze around it, surrounded by the grass of the field. Let it become damp with the dew of the sky, and let it live with the wild animals, until seven periods of time go by for him’ – 4:24 this is the interpretation, O king! It is the decision of the Most High that this has happened to my lord the king. 4:25 You will be driven 38  from human society, 39  and you will live 40  with the wild animals. You will be fed 41  grass like oxen, 42  and you will become damp with the dew of the sky. Seven periods of time will pass by for you, before 43  you understand that the Most High is ruler over human kingdoms and gives them to whomever he wishes. 4:26 They said to leave the taproot of the tree, for your kingdom will be restored to you when you come to understand that heaven 44  rules. 4:27 Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you. Break away from your sins by doing what is right, and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps your prosperity will be prolonged.” 45 

4:28 Now all of this happened 46  to King Nebuchadnezzar. 4:29 After twelve months, he happened to be walking around on the battlements 47  of the royal palace of Babylon. 4:30 The king uttered these words: “Is this not the great Babylon that I have built for a royal residence 48  by my own mighty strength 49  and for my majestic honor?” 4:31 While these words were still on the king’s lips, 50  a voice came down from heaven: “It is hereby announced to you, 51  King Nebuchadnezzar, that your kingdom has been removed from you! 4:32 You will be driven from human society, and you will live with the wild animals. You will be fed grass like oxen, and seven periods of time will pass by for you before 52  you understand that the Most High is ruler over human kingdoms and gives them to whomever he wishes.”

4:33 Now in that very moment 53  this pronouncement about 54  Nebuchadnezzar came true. 55  He was driven from human society, he ate grass like oxen, and his body became damp with the dew of the sky, until his hair became long like an eagle’s feathers, and his nails like a bird’s claws. 56 

4:34 But at the end of the appointed time 57  I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up 58  toward heaven, and my sanity returned to me.

I extolled the Most High,

and I praised and glorified the one who lives forever.

For his authority is an everlasting authority,

and his kingdom extends from one generation to the next.

4:35 All the inhabitants of the earth are regarded as nothing. 59 

He does as he wishes with the army of heaven

and with those who inhabit the earth.

No one slaps 60  his hand

and says to him, ‘What have you done?’

4:36 At that time my sanity returned to me. I was restored 61  to the honor of my kingdom, and my splendor returned to me. My ministers and my nobles were seeking me out, and I was reinstated 62  over my kingdom. I became even greater than before. 4:37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, for all his deeds are right and his ways are just. He is able to bring down those who live 63  in pride.

Belshazzar Sees Mysterious Handwriting on a Wall

5:1 King Belshazzar 64  prepared a great banquet 65  for a thousand of his nobles, and he was drinking wine in front of 66  them all. 67  5:2 While under the influence 68  of the wine, Belshazzar issued an order to bring in the gold and silver vessels – the ones that Nebuchadnezzar his father 69  had confiscated 70  from the temple in Jerusalem 71  – so that the king and his nobles, together with his wives and his concubines, could drink from them. 72  5:3 So they brought the gold and silver 73  vessels that had been confiscated from the temple, the house of God 74  in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, together with his wives and concubines, drank from them. 5:4 As they drank wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

5:5 At that very moment the fingers of a human hand appeared 75  and wrote on the plaster of the royal palace wall, opposite the lampstand. 76  The king was watching the back 77  of the hand that was writing. 5:6 Then all the color drained from the king’s face 78  and he became alarmed. 79  The joints of his hips gave way, 80  and his knees began knocking together. 5:7 The king called out loudly 81  to summon 82  the astrologers, wise men, and diviners. The king proclaimed 83  to the wise men of Babylon that anyone who could read this inscription and disclose its interpretation would be clothed in purple 84  and have a golden collar 85  placed on his neck and be third ruler in the kingdom.

5:8 So all the king’s wise men came in, but they were unable to read the writing or to make known its 86  interpretation to the king. 5:9 Then King Belshazzar was very terrified, and he was visibly shaken. 87  His nobles were completely dumbfounded.

5:10 Due to the noise 88  caused by the king and his nobles, the queen mother 89  then entered the banquet room. She 90  said, “O king, live forever! Don’t be alarmed! Don’t be shaken! 5:11 There is a man in your kingdom who has within him a spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, he proved to have 91  insight, discernment, and wisdom like that 92  of the gods. 93  King Nebuchadnezzar your father appointed him chief of the magicians, astrologers, wise men, and diviners. 94  5:12 Thus there was found in this man Daniel, whom the king renamed Belteshazzar, an extraordinary spirit, knowledge, and skill to interpret 95  dreams, solve riddles, and decipher knotty problems. 96  Now summon 97  Daniel, and he will disclose the interpretation.”

5:13 So Daniel was brought in before the king. The king said to Daniel, “Are you that Daniel who is one of the captives of Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? 5:14 I have heard about you, how there is a spirit of the gods in you, and how you have 98  insight, discernment, and extraordinary wisdom. 5:15 Now the wise men and 99  astrologers were brought before me to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation. But they were unable to disclose the interpretation of the message. 5:16 However, I have heard 100  that you are able to provide interpretations and to decipher knotty problems. Now if you are able to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, you will wear purple and have a golden collar around your neck and be third 101  ruler in the kingdom.”

Daniel Interprets the Handwriting on the Wall

5:17 But Daniel replied to the king, “Keep your gifts, and give your rewards to someone else! However, I will read the writing for the king and make known its 102  interpretation. 5:18 As for you, O king, the most high God bestowed on your father Nebuchadnezzar a kingdom, greatness, honor, and majesty. 103  5:19 Due to the greatness that he bestowed on him, all peoples, nations, and language groups were trembling with fear 104  before him. He killed whom he wished, he spared 105  whom he wished, he exalted whom he wished, and he brought low whom he wished. 5:20 And when his mind 106  became arrogant 107  and his spirit filled with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and his honor was removed from him. 5:21 He was driven from human society, his mind 108  was changed to that of an animal, he lived 109  with the wild donkeys, he was fed grass like oxen, and his body became damp with the dew of the sky, until he came to understand that the most high God rules over human kingdoms, and he appoints over them whomever he wishes.

5:22 “But you, his son 110  Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, 111  although you knew all this. 5:23 Instead, you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven. You brought before you the vessels from his temple, and you and your nobles, together with your wives and concubines, drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone – gods 112  that cannot see or hear or comprehend! But you have not glorified the God who has in his control 113  your very breath and all your ways! 5:24 Therefore the palm of a hand was sent from him, and this writing was inscribed.

5:25 “This is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, 114  TEQEL, and PHARSIN. 115  5:26 This is the interpretation of the words: 116  As for mene 117  – God has numbered your kingdom’s days and brought it to an end. 5:27 As for teqel – you are weighed on the balances and found to be lacking. 5:28 As for peres 118  – your kingdom is divided and given over to the Medes and Persians.”

5:29 Then, on Belshazzar’s orders, 119  Daniel was clothed in purple, a golden collar was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed third ruler in the kingdom. 5:30 And in that very night Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, 120  was killed. 121  5:31 (6:1) 122  So Darius the Mede took control of the kingdom when he was about sixty-two years old.

Daniel is Thrown into a Lions’ Den

6:1 It seemed like a good idea to Darius 123  to appoint over the kingdom 120 satraps 124  who would be in charge of the entire kingdom. 6:2 Over them would be three supervisors, one of whom was Daniel. These satraps were accountable 125  to them, so that the king’s interests might not incur damage. 6:3 Now this Daniel was distinguishing himself above the other supervisors and the satraps, for he had an extraordinary spirit. In fact, the king intended to appoint him over the entire kingdom. 6:4 Consequently the supervisors and satraps were trying to find 126  some pretext against Daniel in connection with administrative matters. 127  But they were unable to find any such damaging evidence, 128  because he was trustworthy and guilty of no negligence or corruption. 129  6:5 So these men concluded, 130  “We won’t find any pretext against this man Daniel unless it is 131  in connection with the law of his God.”

6:6 So these supervisors and satraps came by collusion 132  to the king and said 133  to him, “O King Darius, live forever! 6:7 To all the supervisors of the kingdom, the prefects, satraps, counselors, and governors it seemed like a good idea for a royal edict to be issued and an interdict to be enforced. For the next thirty days anyone who prays 134  to any god or human other than you, O king, should be thrown into a den of lions. 6:8 Now let the king issue a written interdict 135  so that it cannot be altered, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be changed. 136  6:9 So King Darius issued the written interdict.

6:10 When Daniel realized 137  that a written decree had been issued, he entered his home, where the windows 138  in his upper room opened toward Jerusalem. 139  Three 140  times daily he was 141  kneeling 142  and offering prayers and thanks to his God just as he had been accustomed to do previously. 6:11 Then those officials who had gone to the king 143  came by collusion and found Daniel praying and asking for help before his God. 6:12 So they approached the king and said to him, 144  “Did you not issue an edict to the effect that for the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human other than to you, O king, would be thrown into a den of lions?” The king replied, “That is correct, 145  according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be changed.” 6:13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the captives 146  from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the edict that you issued. Three times daily he offers his prayer.” 147 

6:14 When the king heard this, 148  he was very upset and began thinking about 149  how he might rescue Daniel. Until late afternoon 150  he was struggling to find a way to rescue him. 6:15 Then those men came by collusion to the king and 151  said to him, 152  “Recall, 153  O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no edict or decree that the king issues can be changed.” 6:16 So the king gave the order, 154  and Daniel was brought and thrown into a den 155  of lions. The king consoled 156  Daniel by saying, “Your God whom you continually serve will rescue you!” 6:17 Then a stone was brought and placed over the opening 157  to the den. The king sealed 158  it with his signet ring and with those 159  of his nobles so that nothing could be changed with regard to Daniel. 6:18 Then the king departed to his palace. But he spent the night without eating, and no diversions 160  were brought to him. He was unable to sleep. 161 

God Rescues Daniel from the Lions

6:19 In the morning, at the earliest sign of daylight, the king got up and rushed to the lions’ den. 6:20 As he approached the den, he called out to Daniel in a worried voice, 162  “Daniel, servant of the living God, was your God whom you continually serve able to rescue you from the lions?”

6:21 Then Daniel spoke to 163  the king, “O king, live forever! 6:22 My God sent his angel and closed the lions’ mouths so that they have not harmed me, because I was found to be innocent before him. Nor have I done any harm to you, O king.”

6:23 Then the king was delighted and gave an order to haul Daniel up from the den. So Daniel was hauled up out of the den. He had no injury of any kind, because he had trusted in his God. 6:24 The king gave another order, 164  and those men who had maliciously accused 165  Daniel were brought and thrown 166  into the lions’ den – they, their children, and their wives. 167  They did not even reach the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

6:25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and language groups who were living in all the land: “Peace and prosperity! 168  6:26 I have issued an edict that throughout all the dominion of my kingdom people are to revere and fear the God of Daniel.

“For he is the living God;

he endures forever.

His kingdom will not be destroyed;

his authority is forever. 169 

6:27 He rescues and delivers

and performs signs and wonders

in the heavens and on the earth.

He has rescued Daniel from the power 170  of the lions!”

6:28 So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and 171  the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

1 sn Beginning with 4:1, the verse numbers through 4:37 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Aramaic text (BHS), with 4:1 ET = 3:31 AT, 4:2 ET = 3:32 AT, 4:3 ET = 3:33 AT, 4:4 ET = 4:1 AT, etc., through 4:37 ET = 4:34 AT. Thus Dan 3:31-33 of the Aramaic text appears as Dan 4:1-3 in the English Bible, and the corresponding verses of ch. 4 differ accordingly. In spite of the division of the Aramaic text, a good case can be made that 3:31-33 AT (= 4:1-3 ET) is actually the introduction to ch. 4.

2 tn Aram “May your peace increase!”

3 tn Aram “his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.”

4 sn This verse marks the beginning of chap. 4 in the Aramaic text of Daniel (see the note on 4:1). The Greek OT (LXX) has the following addition: “In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign he said.” This date would suggest a link to the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. In general, the LXX of chapters 4-6 is very different from the MT, so much so that the following notes will call attention only to selected readings. In Daniel 4 the LXX lacks sizable portions of material in the MT (e.g., vv. 3-6, 31-32), includes sizable portions of material not in the MT (e.g., v. 14a, parts of vv. 16, 28), has a different order of some material (e.g., v. 8 after v. 9), and in some instances is vastly different from the MT (e.g., vv. 30, 34). Whether these differences are due to an excessively paraphrastic translation technique adopted for these chapters in the LXX, or are due to differences in the underlying Vorlage of the LXX, is a disputed matter. The latter seems more likely. There is a growing trend in modern scholarship to take the LXX of chapters 4-6 much more seriously than was the case in most earlier text-critical studies that considered this issue.

5 tn Aram “my house.”

6 tn Aram “happy.”

7 tn Aram “and it.”

8 tn Aram “from me there was placed a decree.”

9 tn The Aramaic infinitive here is active.

10 sn This explanation of the meaning of the name Belteshazzar may be more of a paronomasia than a strict etymology.

11 tc The present translation assumes the reading חֲזִי (khazi, “consider”) rather than the MT חֶזְוֵי (khezvey, “visions”). The MT implies that the king required Daniel to disclose both the dream and its interpretation, as in chapter 2. But in the following verses Nebuchadnezzar recounts his dream, while Daniel presents only its interpretation.

12 tc The LXX lacks the first two words (Aram “the visions of my head”) of the Aramaic text.

13 tn Instead of “in the middle of the land,” some English versions render this phrase “a tree at the center of the earth” (NRSV); NAB, CEV “of the world”; NLT “in the middle of the earth.” The Hebrew phrase can have either meaning.

14 tn Aram “its height was great.”

15 tn Aram “its sight.” So also v. 17.

16 tn Or “to the end of all the earth” (so KJV, ASV); NCV, CEV “from anywhere on earth.”

17 tn Aram “the beasts of the field.”

18 tn Aram “all flesh.”

19 tn Aram “the visions of my head.”

20 tn Aram “a watcher and a holy one.” The expression is a hendiadys; so also in v. 23. This “watcher” is apparently an angel. The Greek OT (LXX) in fact has ἄγγελος (angelo", “angel”) here. Theodotion simply transliterates the Aramaic word (’ir). The term is sometimes rendered “sentinel” (NAB) or “messenger” (NIV, NLT).

21 tn Aram “in strength.”

22 tn Aram “and thus he was saying.”

23 tn Aram “the stock of its root.” So also v. 23. The implication here is that although the tree is chopped down, it is not killed. Its life-giving root is spared. The application to Nebuchadnezzar is obvious.

24 sn The function of the band of iron and bronze is not entirely clear, but it may have had to do with preventing the splitting or further deterioration of the portion of the tree that was left after being chopped down. By application it would then refer to the preservation of Nebuchadnezzar’s life during the time of his insanity.

25 tn Aram “its lot be.”

26 tn Aram “its heart.” The metaphor of the tree begins to fade here and the reality behind the symbol (the king) begins to emerge.

27 sn The seven periods of time probably refer to seven years.

28 tn Aram “over” (also in vv. 23, 25, 32).

29 tc The present translation follows an underlying reading of עַל־דִּבְרַת (’al-divrat, “so that”) rather than MT עַד־דִּבְרַת (’ad-divrat, “until”).

30 tn Aram “the kingdom of man”; NASB “the realm of mankind”; NCV “every kingdom on earth.”

31 tc The present translation reads פִּשְׁרֵהּ (pishreh, “its interpretation”) with the Qere and many medieval Hebrew MSS; the Kethib is פִּשְׁרָא (pishra’, “the interpretation”); so also v. 16.

32 tn Aram “of.”

33 tn Aram “about one hour.” The expression refers idiomatically to a brief period of time of undetermined length.

34 tn Aram “my lord.”

35 tn Aram “its sight.”

36 tn Aram “the beasts of the field” (also in vv. 23, 25, 32).

37 sn Much of modern scholarship views this chapter as a distortion of traditions that were originally associated with Nabonidus rather than with Nebuchadnezzar. A Qumran text, the Prayer of Nabonidus, is often cited for parallels to these events.

38 tn The Aramaic indefinite active plural is used here like the English passive. So also in v. 28, 29,32.

39 tn Aram “from mankind.” So also in v. 32.

40 tn Aram “your dwelling will be.” So also in v. 32.

41 tn Or perhaps “be made to eat.”

42 sn Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity has features that are associated with the mental disorder known as boanthropy, in which the person so afflicted imagines himself to be an ox or a similar animal and behaves accordingly.

43 tn Aram “until.”

44 sn The reference to heaven here is a circumlocution for God. There was a tendency in Jewish contexts to avoid direct reference to God. Cf. the expression “kingdom of heaven” in the NT and such statements as “I have sinned against heaven and in your sight” (Luke 15:21).

45 tn Aram “if there may be a lengthening to your prosperity.”

46 tn Aram “reached.”

47 tn The word “battlements” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied from context. Many English versions supply “roof” here (e.g., NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); cf. NLT “on the flat roof.”

48 tn Aram “house.”

49 tn Aram “by the might of my strength.”

50 tn Aram “in the mouth of the king.”

51 tn Aram “to you they say.”

52 tn Aram “until.”

53 tn Aram “hour.”

54 tn Or “on.”

55 tn Aram “was fulfilled.”

56 tn The words “feathers” and “claws” are not present in the Aramaic text, but have been added in the translation for clarity.

57 tn Aram “days.”

58 tn Aram “lifted up my eyes.”

59 tc The present translation reads כְּלָא (kÿla’), with many medieval Hebrew MSS, rather than כְּלָה (kÿlah) of BHS.

60 tn Aram “strikes against.”

61 tc The translation reads הַדְרֵת (hadret, “I returned”) rather than the MT הַדְרִי (hadri, “my honor”); cf. Theodotion.

62 tc The translation reads הָתְקְנֵת (hotqÿnet, “I was established”) rather than the MT הָתְקְנַת (hotqÿnat, “it was established”). As it stands, the MT makes no sense here.

63 tn Aram “walk.”

64 sn As is clear from the extra-biblical records, it was actually Nabonidus (ca. 556-539 B.C.) who was king of Babylon at this time. However, Nabonidus spent long periods of time at Teima, and during those times Belshazzar his son was de facto king of Babylon. This arrangement may help to explain why later in this chapter Belshazzar promises that the successful interpreter of the handwriting on the wall will be made third ruler in the kingdom. If Belshazzar was in effect second ruler in the kingdom, this would be the highest honor he could grant.

65 sn This scene of a Babylonian banquet calls to mind a similar grandiose event recorded in Esth 1:3-8. Persian kings were also renowned in the ancient Near Eastern world for their lavish banquets.

66 sn The king probably sat at an elevated head table.

67 tn Aram “the thousand.”

68 tn Or perhaps, “when he had tasted” (cf. NASB) in the sense of officially initiating the commencement of the banquet. The translation above seems preferable, however, given the clear evidence of inebriation in the context (cf. also CEV “he got drunk and ordered”).

69 tn Or “ancestor”; or “predecessor” (also in vv. 11, 13, 18). The Aramaic word translated “father” can on occasion denote these other relationships.

70 tn Or “taken.”

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

72 sn Making use of sacred temple vessels for an occasion of reveling and drunkenness such as this would have been a religious affront of shocking proportions to the Jewish captives.

73 tc The present translation reads וְכַסְפָּא (vÿkhaspa’, “and the silver”) with Theodotion and the Vulgate. Cf. v. 2. The form was probably accidentally dropped from the Aramaic text by homoioteleuton.

74 tn Aram “the temple of the house of God.” The phrase seems rather awkward. The Vulgate lacks “of the house of God,” while Theodotion and the Syriac lack “the house.”

75 tn Aram “came forth.”

76 sn The mention of the lampstand in this context is of interest because it suggests that the writing was in clear view.

77 tn While Aramaic פַּס (pas) can mean the palm of the hand, here it seems to be the back of the hand that is intended.

78 tn Aram “[the king’s] brightness changed for him.”

79 tn Aram “his thoughts were alarming him.”

80 tn Aram “his loins went slack.”

81 tn Aram “in strength.”

82 tn Aram “cause to enter.”

83 tn Aram “answered and said.”

84 sn Purple was a color associated with royalty in the ancient world.

85 tn The term translated “golden collar” here probably refers to something more substantial than merely a gold chain (cf. NIV, NCV, NRSV, NLT) or necklace (cf. NASB).

86 tc Read וּפִשְׁרֵהּ (ufishreh) with the Qere rather than וּפִשְׁרָא (ufishra’) of the Kethib.

87 tn Aram “his visage altered upon him.” So also in v. 10.

88 tn Aram “words of the king.”

89 tn Aram “the queen” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV). In the following discourse this woman is able to recall things about Daniel that go back to the days of Nebuchadnezzar, things that Belshazzar does not seem to recollect. It is likely that she was the wife not of Belshazzar but of Nabonidus or perhaps even Nebuchadnezzar. In that case, “queen” here means “queen mother” (cf. NCV “the king’s mother”).

90 tn Aram “The queen.” The translation has used the pronoun “she” instead because repetition of the noun here would be redundant in terms of English style.

91 tn Aram “[there were] discovered to be in him.”

92 tn Aram “wisdom like the wisdom.” This would be redundant in terms of English style.

93 tc Theodotion lacks the phrase “and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods.”

94 tc The MT includes a redundant reference to “your father the king” at the end of v. 11. None of the attempts to explain this phrase as original are very convincing. The present translation deletes the phrase, following Theodotion and the Syriac.

95 tc The translation reads מִפְשַׁר (mifshar) rather than the MT מְפַשַּׁר (mÿfashar) and later in the verse reads וּמִשְׁרֵא (mishre’) rather than the MT וּמְשָׁרֵא (mÿshare’). The Masoretes have understood these Aramaic forms to be participles, but they are more likely to be vocalized as infinitives. As such, they have an epexegetical function in the syntax of their clause.

96 tn Aram “to loose knots.”

97 tn Aram “let [Daniel] be summoned.”

98 tn Aram “there has been found in you.”

99 tn The Aramaic text does not have “and.” The term “astrologers” is either an appositive for “wise men” (cf. KJV, NKJV, ASV, RSV, NRSV), or the construction is to be understood as asyndetic (so the translation above).

100 tn The Aramaic text has also the words “about you.”

101 tn Or perhaps “one of three rulers,” in the sense of becoming part of a triumvir. So also v. 29.

102 tn Or “the.”

103 tn Or “royal greatness and majestic honor,” if the four terms are understood as a double hendiadys.

104 tn Aram “were trembling and fearing.” This can be treated as a hendiadys, “were trembling with fear.”

105 tn Aram “let live.” This Aramaic form is the aphel participle of חַיָה(khayah, “to live”). Theodotion and the Vulgate mistakenly take the form to be from מְחָא (mÿkha’, “to smite”).

106 tn Aram “heart.”

107 sn The point of describing Nebuchadnezzar as arrogant is that he had usurped divine prerogatives, and because of his immense arrogance God had dealt decisively with him.

108 tn Aram “heart.”

109 tn Aram “his dwelling.”

110 tn Or “descendant”; or “successor.”

111 tn Aram “your heart.”

112 tn Aram “which.”

113 tn Aram “in whose hand [are].”

114 tc The Greek version of Theodotion lacks the repetition of מְנֵא (mÿne’, cf. NAB).

115 tc The Aramaic word is plural. Theodotion has the singular (cf. NAB “PERES”).

116 tn Or “word” or “event.” See HALOT 1915 s.v. מִלָּה.

117 tn The Aramaic term מְנֵא (mÿne’) is a noun referring to a measure of weight. The linkage here to the verb “to number” (Aram. מְנָה, mÿnah) is a case of paronomasia rather than strict etymology. So also with תְּקֵל (tÿqel) and פַרְסִין (farsin). In the latter case there is an obvious wordplay with the name “Persian.”

118 sn Peres (פְּרֵס) is the singular form of פַרְסִין (pharsin) in v. 25.

119 tn Aram “Belshazzar spoke.”

120 tn Aram “king of the Chaldeans.”

121 sn The year was 539 B.C. At this time Daniel would have been approximately eighty-one years old. The relevant extra-biblical records describing the fall of Babylon include portions of Herodotus, Xenophon, Berossus (cited in Josephus), the Cyrus Cylinder, and the Babylonian Chronicle.

122 sn Beginning with 5:31, the verse numbers through 6:28 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Aramaic text (BHS), with 5:31 ET = 6:1 AT, 6:1 ET = 6:2 AT, 6:2 ET = 6:3 AT, 6:3 ET = 6:4 AT, etc., through 6:28 ET = 6:29 AT. Beginning with 7:1 the verse numbers in the English Bible and the Aramaic text are again the same.

123 tn Aram “It was pleasing before Darius.”

124 tn This is a technical term for an official placed in charge of a region of the empire (cf. KJV, NLT “prince[s]”; NCV, TEV “governors”). These satraps were answerable to a supervisor, who in turn answered to Darius.

125 tn Aram “giving an account.”

126 tn Aram “looking to find.”

127 tn Aram “from the side of the kingdom.”

128 tn Aram “pretext and corruption.”

129 tn Aram “no negligence or corruption was found in him.” The Greek version of Theodotion lacks the phrase “and no negligence or corruption was found in him.”

130 tn Aram “were saying.”

131 tn Aram “unless we find [it] against him.”

132 tn The Aramaic verb רְגַשׁ (rÿgash) occurs three times in this chapter (vv. 7, 12, 16). Its meaning is widely disputed by commentators, and the versions vary considerably in how they render the word. The suggestion that it means “to come thronging” (BDB 1112 s.v.; cf. NAB) seems inappropriate, since it is unlikely that subordinates would enter a royal court in such a reckless fashion. The ancient versions struggled with the word and are not in agreement in their understanding of its meaning. In this chapter the word apparently means to act in agreement with other parties in the pursuit of a duplicitous goal, namely the entrapment of Daniel. Cf. NIV, NCV “went as a group”; NRSV “conspired and came to the king.”

133 tn Aram “thus they were saying.”

134 tn Aram “prays a prayer.”

135 tn Aram “establish a written interdict and inscribe a written decree.”

136 tn Or “removed.”

137 tn Aram “knew.”

138 sn In later rabbinic thought this verse was sometimes cited as a proof text for the notion that one should pray only in a house with windows. See b. Berakhot 34b.

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

140 sn This is apparently the only specific mention in the OT of prayer being regularly offered three times a day. The practice was probably not unique to Daniel, however.

141 tc Read with several medieval Hebrew MSS and printed editions הֲוָה (havah) rather than the MT הוּא (hu’).

142 tn Aram “kneeling on his knees” (so NASB).

sn No specific posture for offering prayers is prescribed in the OT. Kneeling, as here, and standing were both practiced.

143 tn Aram “those men”; the referent (the administrative officials who had earlier approached the king about the edict) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

144 tc The MT also has “about the edict of the king,” but this phrase is absent in the LXX and the Syriac. The present translation deletes the expression.

tn Aram “before the king.”

145 tn Aram “the word is true.”

146 tn Aram “from the sons of the captivity [of].”

147 tn Aram “prays his prayer.”

148 tn Aram “the word.”

149 tn Aram “placed his mind on.”

150 tn Aram “the entrances of the sun.”

151 tc Theodotion lacks the words “came by collusion to the king and.”

152 tn Aram “the king.”

153 tn Aram “know”; NAB “Keep in mind”; NASB “Recognize”; NIV, NCV “Remember.”

154 tn Aram “said.” So also in vv. 24, 25.

155 sn The den was perhaps a pit below ground level which could be safely observed from above.

156 tn Aram “answered and said [to Daniel].”

157 tn Aram “mouth.”

158 sn The purpose of the den being sealed was to prevent unauthorized tampering with the opening of the den. Any disturbance of the seal would immediately alert the officials to improper activity of this sort.

159 tn Aram “the signet rings.”

160 tn The meaning of Aramaic דַּחֲוָה (dakhavah) is a crux interpretum. Suggestions include “music,” “dancing girls,” “concubines,” “table,” “food” – all of which are uncertain. The translation employed here, suggested by earlier scholars, is deliberately vague. A number of recent English versions follow a similar approach with “entertainment” (e.g., NASB, NIV, NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT). On this word see further, HALOT 1849-50 s.v.; E. Vogt, Lexicon linguae aramaicae, 37.

161 tn Aram “his sleep fled from him.”

162 tn Aram “The king answered and said to Daniel.” This phrase has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons; it is redundant in English.

163 tn Aram “with.”

164 tn Aram “said.”

165 tn Aram “had eaten the pieces of.” The Aramaic expression is ironic, in that the accusers who had figuratively “eaten the pieces of Daniel” are themselves literally devoured by the lions.

166 tn The Aramaic active impersonal verb is often used as a substitute for the passive.

167 tc The LXX specifies only the two overseers, together with their families, as those who were cast into the lions’ den.

168 tn Aram “May your peace be increased!”

169 tn Aram “until the end.”

170 tn Aram “hand.”

171 tn Or perhaps “in the reign of Darius, even in the reign of Cyrus.” The identity of this Darius is disputed. Some take the name to be referring to Cyrus, understanding the following vav (ו, “and”) in an epexegetical sense (“even”). Others identify Darius with a governor of Babylon known from extra-biblical records as Gubaru, or with Cambyses, son of Cyrus. Many scholars maintain that the reference is historically inaccurate.



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