Daniel 4:20 MEANING

Daniel 4:20
(20) It should be noticed that both in this and in the following verse the description of the tree given in Daniel 4:11-12 is curtailed. It was observed that, on the contrary, there was an expansion of details in the interpretation of the former dream. (See Note on Daniel 4:23.)

Verses 20-22. - The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, an the sight thereof to all the earth; whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation: it is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth. The Septuagint Version here differs very considerably in wording from the above, but not in sense, "Thou, O king, art this tree planted in the earth, the appearance of which was great, and all the birds of the heaven made their nests in it: the strength of the earth and of the nations, and of all tongues to the ends of the earth, and all the provinces (χῶραι) serve thee. And that tree was exalted and neared the heaven, and its breadth (κῦτος) touched the clouds. Thou, O king, wast exalted above all men that are upon the face of the whole earth, and thine heart has been [literally, 'was'] lifted up with pride and strength over those things which pertain to the Holy One and his angels, and thy works are manifest, because thou hast laid waste the house of the living God on account of the sins of the consecrated people." The latter portion of this contains plain evidence of interpolation. Had there been anything of that sort in the original Daniel, it would not have disappeared from the Massoretic text. This addition reveals the mental attitude of the Jews of the Maccabean period to foreign oppressors. The fact that the whole atmosphere of the primitive Daniel differs so much from this is an indirect evidence of its genuineness. If one looks at the Septuagint rendering of these three verses, there seem evidences of an early origin. The first verse is clearly an instance in which the text behind the Septuagint is superior to that of the Massoretic; the latter is obviously filled out from ver. 11. The statement of Nebuchadnezzar's greatness in ver. 22 (14 Septuagint, 18 Massoretic) may be somewhat the result of paraphrase. The fifteenth verse, according to the LXX., which is paralleled by Tischeudorf with ver. 19 of the Massoretic, is really another version of the preceding verses, probably slightly modified to give the resulting text the appearance of being continuous. Theodotion bears a very close resemblance to the Massoretic text, only he has κύτος, "breadth," instead of ὅρασις. The Peshitta differs but little, though still a little, from the Massoretic text. Instead of rendering, "meat for all," it has, "for all flesh." According to both recensions of the text, Daniel repeats, either in substance or with verbal exactness, the description Nebuchadnezzar had himself given of the tree of his vision, but applies it to the monarch. To us the terms of the description of Nebuchadnezzar's power are exaggerated; but we must bear in mind that the manners of an Oriental court are different from those of Western nations. It is not unlike the boastful language of Nebuchadnezzar in the Standard Inscription. The monarch's dominion was vast, but it had been given him, and that he did not recognize, and hence the judgment that came upon him.

4:19-27 Daniel was struck with amazement and terror at so heavy a judgment coming upon so great a prince, and gives advice with tenderness and respect. It is necessary, in repentance, that we not only cease to do evil, but learn to do good. Though it might not wholly prevent the judgment, yet the trouble may be longer before it comes, or shorter when it does come. And everlasting misery will be escaped by all who repent and turn to God.The tree which thou sawest, In these two verses is related part of the dream, which respects the flourishing estate of Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom; See Gill on Daniel 4:10, Daniel 4:11, Daniel 4:12.
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