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named Belteshazzar : now let Daniel be called, and he will 13 show the interpretation.* Then was Daniel brought in be
fore the king. [And] the king spake, and said unto Daniel, (Art) thou that Daniel, which (art) of the children of the cap
tivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jew14 ry? I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods [is]
in thee, and [that] light and understanding and excellent wis15 dom is found in thee. And now the wise (men,) the astrolo
gers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation
thereof : but they could not show the interpretation of the 16 thing. And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make in
terpretations, and dissolve doubts : now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and[have) a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.
Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another ; I neither deserve nor desire then; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation : but, before
he read and explained the writing, he boldly and piously attempt. 18 ed to awaken the mind of the king to serious reficction. O thou
king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a 19 kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour : And for the
majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him : whom he would he slew
and whom he would he kept alive ; and whom he would he 20 set up; and whom he would he put down. But when his
heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was
deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from 31 him : And he was driven from the sons of men ; and his
heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling (was) with the wild asses : they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven ; till he knew that the
most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and [that] he 22 appointeth over it whomsoever he will. And thou his son,
O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou 23-knewest all this ; But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord
of heaven ; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know : and the God in whose hand thy breath [is,) and whose [are) all thy ways, hast thou not glori.
• It is strange that Daniel should be unknown to the king ; he was perhaps either re. moved, or had retired from court, or, which is more probable, the king knew nothing of his own affairs ; which is confirmed by the account us profane historians, that the was a weak, luxurious prince.
fied ; thou hast not given honour to him who has the supreme 24 disposal of thy affairs and thy life : Then was the part of the
hand sent from him; and this writing was written. 25 And this (is) the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, 26 TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This [is] the interpretation of the
thing : MENE ; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it ; he hath determined the days of thy life, and the con
tinuance of thy kingdom; both of which are now concluded. 97 TEKEL; thou art weighed in the balances, and art found want
ing; thou art light and worthless, therefore in strict justice he hath 38 determined thy fate. PERES, (the simple form of Upharsin,
which signifies, both to divide, and is the proper name of the
Persians) thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes 39 and Persians. Then commanded Belshazzar, and they cloth
ed Daniel with scarlet, and (put) a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should
be the third ruler in the kingdom. 30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans
slain, together with his nobles, amidst their revelling, as Jeremi. 31 ah had foretold, Jer. li. 57. And Darius the Median took the
kingdom, [being] about three score and two years old ; or rather, Cyaxares, uncle, by the mother's side, to Cyrus, who reigned about two years, and then Cyrus took possession of the whole empire.
1. EE the connection that subsists between sensuality and
Belshazzar and his lords were spending the night in drinking and revelling ; which was especially shameful when the city was besieged by a formidable enemy. Luxury and sensuality are bad at any time, but especially so when the judgments of God are abroad, and his afflicting hand is upon us. Men are often led in their drunken frolics to profaneness, and make a jest of what is sacred, to dishonour God and religion ; and thus are hurried on to ruin. Let us take heed to ourselves, lest at any time our hearts be overcharged with gluttony and drunkenness, and that day come upon us unawares.
2. See the force of conscience. It was a sense of guilt which put Belshazzar into all this terror, and filled his lords with astonishment. Here was no thunder and lightning, no noise, no dreadful appearance ; nothing but a hand and pen ; for aught he knew, it might be some good tidings of victory, some favourable mes. sage from the gods which he was praising. But he was conscious of being sensual and profane, and therefore this appearance
• Nomer and Virgil represent Jupiter as weighing ifie fates of men.
put him into a dreadful panic. . God can strike terror into the most profligate sinners, by only letting their own thoughts loose upon them ; so that neither company, splendor, nor wine, can calm their spirits. How desirable is it to keep our conscience clear, that we may have hope in God, and our minds be kept in perfect peace in all circumstances.
3. How great is the guilt, and how just the punishment, of those who will not take warning by the judgments of God upon others ; especially their own ancestors. Daniel, as a wise and good man, and now above ninety years old, takes opportunity, while the king was expecting the interpretation, to reprove and admonish him. He reminds him of what had happened to his grandfather, and what a confession of Jehovah's power and supremacy was extorted from him ; and adds, yet thou his son hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this. Thus inex cusable are the greatest of men, who will not observe and reflect upon the hand of God, especially when it is stretched out against their parents. Let us observe the operations of the Lord; and since the breath, and the ways of all men are in his hands, let it be our care to glorify him.
4. Let us remember the just balance of God, and be solicitous not to be found wanting. We must all be weighed in it ; be brought to judgment; and an exact scrutiny will be made into our characters. If we have been profane, sensual, hypocritical, or even formal professors, without the life and power of religion, we shall be found wanting, and be condemned. Let us therefore judge ourselves, that we be not condemned of the Lord. Indeed, in strict justice, we should all be found wanting ; but Christ has a weight to turn the scale in favour of those who are true believers ; and blessed will be all those that have trusted in him.
Darius advanceth Daniel to be his prime minister over all the king
dom ; Daniel's enemies contrive a scheme to ruin him ; he is cast into the den of lions, and delivered ; his enemies are pun. ished, and the God of Daniel honoured. The Apostle to the Hebrews refers to this story when he says, "Some stopped the mouths of lions.'
twenty princes, according 10 the number of provinces, which 2 should be over the whole kingdom ; And over these, three
presidents ; of whom Daniel (was] first ; that the princes might give accounts unto them, which they might inspect 80 as to be a check upon their conduct, and the king s!:ould have no
3 damage. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presi
dents and princes, because an excellent spirit (was) in him ; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm of Babylon.
Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom ; but they could find none occasion nor fault ; forasmuch as he (was) faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him ; they sought for some mal administration, some treachery, or fraud, but they 5 could not so much as find a mistake. Then said these men,
We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we 6 find [it] against him concerning the law of his God. Then
these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, 7 and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. All the
presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man* for thirty days,
save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. $ Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that
it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Per
sians, which altereth not ; this was designed to compliment, and 9 even make a god of the king. Wherefore king Darius signed
the writing and the decree. 10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he
went into his house ; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. After the consecration of Solomon's temple, no puba lic sacrifices were to be offered but at Jerusalem ; therefore, to show that he was a worshipper of Jehovah, the God of the Jews, the only true God, he looked toward Jerusalem when he prayed, as the Israelites were directed to do when captives ; he scorned 10 abate this circumstance, or even to shut his window to conceal it, lest it should be imputed to shame or fear. This probably was
family worship, else they would hardly have known what his cus31 tom was, or been witnesses of his practice in this instance. Then
these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making 12 supplication before his God. Then they came near, and spake
before the king concerning the king's decree ; Hast thou not signed a decree that every man that shall ask [a petition) of ару God or man within thirty days, save of thee, () king, shall be cast into the den of lions ? The king answered and said,
The thing [is] true, according to the law of the Medes and 13 Persians, which altereth not. Then answered they and said
Man may signify, a deified man: for we can hardly suppose they would attempt to make it penal for a beggar to ask charity, or a child to ask bread. It was at best a inonstrous, unaccountable proposal, in effect abolishing all rcligion. Vol. VI.
before the king, That Daniel, which [is] of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a
day : they speak of him with contempt, as a Jew, a captive, and 14 as highly ungrateful to the king. Then the king, when he
heard [these] words, was sore displeased with himself, and set (his] heart on Daniel to deliver him : and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him; he considered all day how to secure him, or persuade his enemies to drop the piros
ccution, not having discovered till too late what they aimed at. 15 Then these men assembled unto the king, in a tumultuous
manner, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law
of the Medes and Persians (is,] That no decree nor statute 16 which the king establisheth may be changed. Then the king
commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast [him) into the den of lions. [Now) the king, who had probably heard of the deliverance of Daniel's companions from the furnace, spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God, whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee." It was certainly most absurd as well
as wicked to execute this sentence upon him, for serving a God 17 whom he believed able and disposed to deliver him. And a stone
was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords ; that the purpose might not be changed concerning
Daniel.* 18 Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fast
ing, that is, without supper, which was the chief meal; neither
were instruments of music brought before him ; and, or, 19 though, his sleep went from him. Then the king arose very
early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. 20 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable
voice unto Daniel ; between concern, hope and despair ;'[and] the king spake and said to Daniel, () Daniel, servant of the living Goch, a phrase which Daniel might have often used, in opposition to dead, though deified men, or lifeless gods, as idols
were ; is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to de21 Jiver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel unto the king, o 22 king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut
the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me ; such an angel as appeared in the furnace, and who intimidated the lions : forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also
before thee, O king, have I done no hurt ; not having acted out 23 of obstinacy, but from conscience. Then was the king exceed
ing glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, . This was a strange circumstance, as he was likely to be immerliately devoured ; but perhaps the king thought, that if he escaped the lions, he might be privately murdered