Daniel 3:2 MEANING

Daniel 3:2
(2) Sent--i.e., sent heralds, as appears from Daniel 3:4. (On the Babylonian officers, see Exc. A.)

Verses 2, 3. The Septuagint is greatly interpolated, "And Nebuchadnezzar, king of kings and ruler (κυριεύων) of the whole inhabited earth (τῆς οἰκουμένης ὅλης), sent to gather together all nations, peoples, and tongues, governors and generals, rulers and overseers, executors and those in authority, according to their provinces, and all in the whole inhabited earth, to come to the dedication of the golden image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up" The word denoting the "inhabited world" is one used first of the Greek world (Funeral Oration of Demosthenes, Τῆς οἰκομενῆς τὸ πλεῖστον μέρος, then of the Roman world as distinct from the barbarian (Polybius, 1:4. 6, Τὸ τῆς ὅλης οἰκουμένης σχῆμα); in this latter sense it is used in Luke 2:1. The phrase, "nations. peoples, and tongues," is one that occurs with great frequency in Revelation, and also the above phrase, τῆς ὅλης οἰκουμένης. This is an indication of the use made by the Apostle John of this version of Daniel as distinct from the Massoretic text It may also be observed that the phrase, "all in the whole inhabited earth," is placed as equal to "all the rulers of the provinces," which makes it at least possible that a misreading of the original text has occasioned the exaggeration in this particular clause. In the third verse the order is different, and to some extent the names of the officials are different also; σατράπαι is left out, and τύραννοι appears in its stead, though not in the same place. Further, there are persons mentioned "great in authority." This variation may be due to an uncertainty in the mind of the translator as to the exact equivalent in Greek for the Aramaic terms. It is to be noted that "the inhabitants of the whole earth" disappear from this repetition. The last editor of the Greek text may have had two renderings before him, and drew from the one the second verse, and from the other the third. Theodotion's rendering, while in closer agreement with the Massoretic text, yet differs from it to some extent, appearing to make the latter half of ver. 2 explanatory of the former, which contains the more technical designations. In ver. 3 there is a change in the order of the terms, as to some extent a change in the terms. In the Peshitta there are evident traces that the translator had not understood the technical meaning of the terms here used. The list given is "great men of might - lords, rulers, Agardaei, Garabdaei, Tarabdaei, Tabathaei, and all the rulers of the province." These mysterious names, that seem those of tribes, have no existence elsewhere. It is singular that these words, if they are in their original shape - which they seem certainly, to be - and to appearance of Persian origin, were unintelligible to one writing on the Persian frontier at most three centuries after the critical date of Daniel. The Parthian Empire retained much of the Persian character. How was it that words of Persian meaning had disappeared there, and still remained in use, or at least still continued to be intelligible, in Palastine? The probability is that the names have undergone so great change in course of transcription that their original form can no longer be recognized. The Vulgate does not call for remark. The names of these different grades of officials are (as we now have them) some indubitably Persian, as ahashdarpan; others unmistakably Assyrian, sagan pehah; and there are some that have no recognized etymology, as tiphtaye: but there are none that are even plausibly derived from Greek. Yet this class of words is precisely the class where the influence of the language of the military governing nation would be manifest. The fact that while the Massoretic text has eight classes of rulers who are summoned, the Septuagint has only six, throws a suspicion on the whole list. The LXX., however, adds, "all those in the whole earth (πάντας τοὺς κατὰ τὴν οἰκουμένην)," which may be the result of misreading of kol shiltoni medeen-atha, or it may be a rendering of it, referring back to the classes already enumerated (ἄρχοντας being understood, omitting the ray). In Theodotion and Jerome there are seven classes. Only in the Peshitta are there the same number of classes as in the Massoretic. The Peshitta has as this first class rabai heela, used in the New Testament, e.g. Luke 22:4, of "chief captains." It is possible that rabuti, or some derivative from it, was in the original text here, and this was changed into the better known sotrap. Sagan does not call for remark; as said above (Daniel 2:48), it is derived from shakun (Assyrian); the Hebrew equivalent appears in Jeremiah 51:23 and Ezekiel 23:6, and elsewhere. Pebah is also Assyrian in origin, also elsewhere used in Scripture. Adargazrayya seems a compound from adar and gazar, "to divide." Furst would make this word mean" astrologers of the god Adar." Professor Bevan would derive it from endarz-gar, a Persian word meaning "counsellor" - "a word which was still in use under the Sassanians." That the word had any connection with this is disproved by the fact that in the Peshitta it is rendered Agardaei. If the word in question had survived from the Achaemenids to the Sassanids, its meaning would necessarily be known to the Peshitta translator, whose date held between the periods of these two Persian dynasties. A Persian word of the date of the Achsemenids to have survived to the age of the Sassanids, must have been known in the intervening Parthian period. A similar difficulty occurs in regard to the next word, gedabrayya - the Syrian translator has simply transferred it. The simplest interpretation is that it is a variation on gizbarayya (Ezra 7:21), and means "treasurers," which is still in use in the Syriac of the Peshitta, e.g. 2 Kings 10:22. The question is complicated by the fact that the word which occupies the same place in the similar list in ver. 27 is had-dabra When we turn to the Peshitta for that verse, there is another word, raur-bona. <[Vol13/Daniel/97]PGBR> The Septuagint, by rendering φίλοις, shows that their reading was habereen. All this proves how utterly futile it is to build anything on the presence of late words in Daniel. The presence of early words from the nature of the case, is more significant. Old and unintelligible words would never be inserted in place of new and intelligible, though the reverse process might readily take place: דְּתָבְּרַיּא (dethaberayya) is rendered usually "judges," and is generally derived from the Pehlevi; but if דַת (dath) means a "firman," a "command," or "decree," in Aramaic, then the addition bar in Persian is rendered less certain. Here, again, the Peshitta translator was unaware of the meaning of the word, and renders by the mysterious word tarabdaei. The last class mentioned is the Tiphtae. This term seems to be omitted in the three Western versions at least there are only six names of ranks of rulers given in these versions, and this is a seventh. Of course, it may be that some name earlier in the list is explanatory and added later than the time when these versions were made. The Peshitta has the word Tabathaei, which has all the appearance of a national name. The word Tiphtae assumes in the K'thib a Syriac form, which, as we before remarked, is an indication of the original dialect of the book. Notwithstanding what Professor Bevan has asserted, something may be said for the conjecture that it is connected with afta, "to advise." But in the extreme doubt in which we are in regard to what the text precisely is, it is something like waste of time to do more than chronicle opinions. This feeling of uncertainty is increased by the fact that, as above mentioned, the two lists in the two verses before us do not agree in the three Western versions. The list in ver. 27 purports to be the same as that given here, and differs from it greatly. All that we may assume is that there were assembled different classes of the officials of the Babylonian Empire. The reading should not be medeenatha, "of the provinces;" but medeenta "of the province;" the officials that were assembled were those merely of the province of Babylon. We would maintain this, although the versions are against it, because there would be no difference in the original unpointed text.

3:1-7 In the height of the image, about thirty yards, probably is included a pedestal, and most likely it was only covered with plates of gold, not a solid mass of that precious metal. Pride and bigotry cause men to require their subjects to follow their religion, whether right or wrong, and when worldly interest allures, and punishment overawes, few refuse. This is easy to the careless, the sensual, and the infidel, who are the greatest number; and most will go their ways. There is nothing so bad which the careless world will not be drawn to by a concert of music, or driven to by a fiery furnace. By such methods, false worship has been set up and maintained.Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes,.... He sent letters, or dispatched messengers, into the several provinces of his empire, and parts of his dominions, to convene all the peers of his realm, and governors of provinces, and all officers, civil, military, and religious, expressed by various names and titles:

the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces; who are particularly and distinctly designed is not easy to say. Jacchiades thinks they answer to the same offices and officers which now obtain in the Turkish empire; princes are the "bashaws"; governors the "beglerbegs"; captains the "agas" of the janizaries; judges the "kadies"; treasurers the "dephterdaries"; the counsellors the "alphakies"; and "zayties the sheriffs"; their chief doctors their "muphties", as L'Empereur; and the rulers of the provinces the "zangiakies" or "viziers"; but, be they who they will, they were the principal men of the empire, both in things civil, military, and ecclesiastic, who were ordered

to come to the dedication of the image, which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; for though it was made and set up, it was not a proper object of worship till dedicated; and which was done by burning incense, blowing trumpets, &c. now these great men were gathered together on this occasion, because of the greater honour done hereby to the king and his image; and also by their example to engage the populace the more easily to the worship of it; and likewise as being the representatives of them since they could not all be collected together in one place; and it may be it was done, as some think, to ensnare Daniel and his companions. Philostratus (f) makes mention of an officer at Babylon that had the keeping of the great gate into the city; which some take to be the same with the first sort here mentioned; who first offered the golden statue of the king to be worshipped before he would permit any to enter into the city, which perhaps might take its rise from the worship of this golden image.

(f) De Vita Apollonii, l. 1. c. 19.

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