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Daniel 2:4-7

Context
2:4 The wise men replied to the king: [What follows is in Aramaic 1 ] “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will disclose its 2  interpretation.” 2:5 The king replied 3  to the wise men, “My decision is firm. 4  If you do not inform me of both the dream and its interpretation, you will be dismembered 5  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 6  of the dream; then we will disclose its 7  interpretation.”

Daniel 2:28

Context
2:28 However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, 8  and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the times to come. 9  The dream and the visions you had while lying on your bed 10  are as follows.

1 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.

2 tn Or “the.”

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

4 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.

5 tn Aram “made limbs.” Cf. 3:29.

6 tn Aram “his servants.”

7 tn Or “the.”

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

9 tn Aram “in the latter days.”

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



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