Daniel 2:48 MEANING

Daniel 2:48
(48) The Province.--According to Daniel 3:2, the Babylonian empire consisted of several provinces, each of which had its own ruler or Shilton. Daniel became ruler of this one province of Babylon. What the other office was to which he was advanced may possibly be explained when further discoveries have been made. Hitherto it has been inexplicable.

Verses 48, 49. - Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king. In the Greek versions there is not much to be observed. The Septuagint renders the last clause of ver. 48 "chief and ruler (ἄρχοντα καὶ ἡγούμενον) of all the wise men of Babylon," reading us gan instead of signeen. Theodotion's is a fairly accurate rendering of the Massoretic text, as is also Jerome. The Peshitta renders this clause, "He made Daniel head over all the mighty men (rabiheela), and over all the wise men of Babylon." The translator must have inserted, or found before him inserted, the preposition על ('el), "over," between tab and signeen, evidently a false reading, due to ignorance of the form Babylonianand Assyrian titles assumed. The word סָגָן, or סְגַן:, was originally maintained to be Persian. Hitzig connects it with an Arabic root, sajan, but the true derivation is now found to be shokun (Assyrian), "governor." It appears in Hebrew in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the deutero-Isaiah, as well as in Ezra and Nehemiah, showing the unlikelihood of any Persian derivation. Hitzig appears to regard Daniel as made the king's regent over the whole empire of Babylon; but this is not at all the meaning of the words. We must not be led away to believe that all this promotion befell Daniel at once; the statement here is summary, and includes many steps, and perhaps several years. Even at the utmost of his exaltation, he is not represented here as being made the regent of Nebuchadnezzar. as Hitzig would maintain. It is really only the province of Babylon, if we may not restrict the meaning of the word medeena even further, and regard it as equivalent to "city." We admit that this restriction of significance is not supported by the versions, but the fact that in so many cases we have traces of Syriac influences in Daniel, and that medeena means in Syriac "a city," renders this supposition not an impossible one. The precise limits of the province of Babylon in the days of Nebuchadnezzar cannot be settled. In later times it consisted mainly of the territory between the Tigris and the Euphrates, south of the murus Medius, with some territory between the latter river and the desert (Professor Rawlinson). It may be that the satrapy of Babylon was of considerably less extent. The word hashleet means "to cause to rule." This would be made true by making Daniel overseer in any department of the government of the province. It is not necessary to maintain that Nebuchadnezzar made Daniel satrap of Babylonia; at the same time, shalet is the title given to the satrap of Babylon. M. Lenormant thinks there must be an interpolation when Daniel is said to be set over all the governors of the wise men in Babylon. His arguments are founded mainly on the belief that the castes of astrologers, soothsayers, and magians - all that were included in the class of hakmeen - were hereditary, a thing which has not been proved. A difficulty has been urged by Lenormant that Daniel, as a zealous Jew, could not become head of a college of idolatrous priests. While there may be some force in this, one must beware of testing the actions of a Jew of the sixth century B.C. by criteria and principles applicable to one of later times. At all events, this militates strongly against the idea that the Book of Daniel was written in the age of the Maccabees. When we see Daniel thus, a youth of probably two or three and twenty, promoted ultimately to be over the province of Babylon, and to be one of the king's most trusted councillors, Ezekiel's saying, which places him between Noah and Job (Ezekiel 14:14), becomes natural. Daniel had already been some years in the king's privy council before Ezekiel was carried into captivity. We do not know how long after the beginning of his prophetic work we are to date the prophecy of the fourteenth chapter - it may have been eight or nine years after. But even if it were only six years, Daniel would by this time have been for eleven years a member of the privy council of the Babylonian monarch, and possibly for a considerable portion of that period governor of the province of Babylon. At any rate, Daniel would bulk very large in the eyes of the poor Jewish captives. Though contemporary, he was so far removed from his fellow-countrymen in social position, that his goodness and greatness would be subject to similar exaggeration to that which happens to heroes of a long-past age. A better argument may be drawn from the fact that sagan is always a civil title. The insertion of the word hakmeen might easily be due to some scribe who thought that as Daniel was one of the wise men, head of them would be more likely than head of the civil governors of the province, and placed it as a suggestion of what ought to take the place of signeen; a copyist following, inserted it in the text. If we compare this chapter with the sixth, we find Daniel one of three who were to receive the accounts of the various governors. Daniel was thus, if we may apply to his office a title drawn from our own political usage, secretary of state for Babylonia. It is characteristic of Daniel, that having been made rich and great by the king, and having received many gifts at the hand of the king, does not satisfy him; he entreats favour for his friends also. Hitzig's objection that Daniel would have the appointment of his subordinates, would only be valid if Daniel had been made satrap If his shaletship extended merely to some one department of governmental work - and that seems to follow from the last clause of this verse - it is unlikely that he would have this power. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are set over the "business" ('el,eedt,') of the province of Babylon. This word, in Targumic Aramaic, is very generally used of constructions where labour is employed. We may regard their position as one something like being members of a labour bureau. Nebuchadezzar was a very great builder, so much so that almost all the bricks that have been got in Babylon are stamped with his name. While his Ninevite predecessors record in their inscriptions their campaigns, the kings they conquered, and the cities they sacked, the inscriptions of Nebuchadnezzar are almost entirely occupied with the various structures - temples, palaces, ramparts, and canals - which he had caused to be made. These buildings would need perpetual surveying. Further, as a great military genius, roads and canals would also be. important objects, in the carrying out of which captives would be employed. And the products of this enforced labour would have to be surveyed carefully. This seems more probable than that Daniel got these three friends appointed to do the work he himself was appointed to. The only plausible suggestion against this would be that Daniel desired that his friends be set jointly over the province of Babylon instead of himself, and, for his own part, he preferred to remain in the gate of the king. We know that those who wished to undermine a favourite in an Eastern court, frequently intrigued to get him promoted to a governorship, and then poisoned the mind of the king against him. On the other hand. the fact that Daniel had his province in Babylon, and would always be near the king when he was in his capital, rendered the implied precaution needless. But Daniel sat in the gate of the king. The gate of the king was the gate of his palace or the entrance to the central court from which all the apartments branched off. In the gate the kings of the East acted as judges over their people; in the gate the king held councils. Hence to sit in the gate of the king conveyed the twofold idea of being the king's representative on the throne of judgment, and of being the counsellor of the king - member of the privy council, to employ a modern term.

2:46-49 It is our business to direct attention to the Lord, as the Author and Giver of every good gift. Many have thoughts of the Divine power and majesty, who do not think of serving God themselves. But all should strive, that God may be glorified, and the best interests of mankind furthered.Then the king made Daniel a great man,.... Advanced him to posts of great honour and dignity he was a great man before in spiritual things, in which he was made great by the Lord; and now he was made a great man in worldly things, through the providence of God; those that honour him he will honour:

and gave him many great gifts: gifts great in value, and many in number; rich garments, gold, silver, precious stones, and large estates to support his honour and grandeur; and which Daniel accepted of, not merely for his own use, but to do good with to his poor brethren the Jews in captivity:

and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon; the whole monarchy was divided into several provinces, over each of which was a deputy governor; this of Babylon was the chief of them, Babylon being the metropolis of the empire; the whole government of which, and all belonging to it, was given to Daniel; a proof of the king's high esteem for him:

and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon; here was an university consisting of several colleges, over each of which there was a governor, and Daniel was the president of them all; or the principal or chancellor of the university: this office he might accept of, that he might have an opportunity of inculcating true knowledge, and of checking and correcting what was impious and unlawful.

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