Daniel 4:27 MEANING

Daniel 4:27
(27) Break off.--The metaphor is taken from a refractory beast casting off the yoke. (Comp. Genesis 27:40, where it is foretold that Esau's posterity shall "break off" the yoke of Jacob.) In Chaldee the word is used for the most part in the sense of putting on one side. Daniel therefore counsels the king to rebel against his sins, such as pride, harshness, and cruelty towards his captives, and to put all these sins aside. And how can he do this in a better manner than by practising the contrary virtues?

Righteousness.--In all wars of conquest many acts of injustice are perpetrated. The king is warned here to show justice or to act justly for the future. Similar counsel is given, though in different language (Micah 6:8). The idea of "alms" and "redeeming" is not conveyed by the Chaldee words, so that the translation "redeem thy sins by alms" is incorrect and unwarrantable.

If it may be--i.e., if Nebuchadnezzar will repent, his prosperity and peace will be prolonged.

Verse 27. - Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity. The Septuagint Version differs in this case somewhat considerably. It connects itself with the preceding verse, "Entreat him on account of thy sins, and to purify' all thine unrighteousness in almsgiving, in order that he may give thee humility, and many days on the throne of thy kingdom, and that thou be not destroyed." This version is paraphrastic and inferior as a whole to the text of the Massoretes, but at the same time, there must have been a different text to make such a rendering possible. Theodotion is more in accordance with the Massoretic text, but also has resemblances to the Septuagint here, "Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to thee, and atone for thy sins by almsgiving, and for thine unrighteousness by mercies to the poor (πενήτων), perchance (ἵσως) God will be long-suffering to thy transgression." The last clause may be due to reading 'elaha' (אלחא) for 'archu (ארכא), in which case the last clause would read, "God may be for thy tranquillity." In this case Theodotion's rendering is a natural paraphrase. The Peshitta is in agreement with the received text, save that malka, "king," is left out, possibly from its resemblance to milki, "my counsel." The Vulgate rendering is, "Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be pleasing unto thee, redeem thy sins by almsgiving, and thine iniquities by mercies to the poor; perchance he will forgive (ignoscat) thy sins." This follows Theodotion so far in the last clause, but not wholly, It is to be noticed that all the versions translate צִדְקָה (tzid'qah) "almsgiving" - a late meaning, and one not present in the Massoretic here. It can only be forced upon,this passage by giving פְרַק (peraq) a meaning it never has, as Professor Bevan and Keil show it to mean "to break," and as breaking a yoke meant "setting free," it thus meant redeeming a person; but in the sense of paying a ransom for sins, it never is used, even in the Targums. There is, therefore, a wide difference between the moral standpoint of the writer of Daniel and that of his translators - so wide that the writer of Daniel does not see the possibility of his words being twisted to this meaning. In Ecclesiasticus almsgiving is made equivalent to righteousness. The writer of Daniel is on a different moral plane from Ben Sira. But more, Daniel must have been translated into Greek before Ecclesiasticus, as the whole canon was translated when the grandson of Ben Sira had come down to Egypt, and this at the latest was B.C. 135; on the critical hypothesis, not a score of years separate the text of Daniel from the translation. The courteous beginning of Daniel's speech is to be observed; he is anxious to win the king to repentance. Compare the stern, unrelenting demeanour of Elijah to Ahab, and of Elisha to Jehoram. If we compare this with the way the Jews of Talmudic times regard the memory of Titus, the Roman captor of Jerusalem, we see we are in a totally different atmosphere from that in which the Jewish folsarius of any period of Jewish history could have lived. A grand impulsive character like Nebuchadnezzar could not but at once allure and awe the young Jew, but a zealous Jew would have regarded it as derogatory to imagine this of a prophet of the Lord, and so we see the Septuagint translator drops the courteous words with which Daniel introduces his advice. Daniel looked upon the fact that the warning had been given as an evidence that there might be a place for repentance.

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.Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to thee,.... Since this is the true interpretation of the dream, and such evils are like to befall thee according to it, permit me, though thou art a king, and I am thy minister or servant, to give thee some advice; and let it be taken in good part, as done with a good design, and a hearty concern for thy welfare:

and break off thy sins by righteousness; this advice carries in it a tacit charge of sins, and a reproof for them; which shows the faithfulness of Daniel: these sins probably, besides pride, intemperance, luxury, and uncleanness, were tyranny, rapine, violence, and oppression of his subjects, to which righteousness is opposed; and by which, that is, by a course and series of righteous living, by administering public justice, and giving to everyone their due, he is advised to break off his sinful course of life; to break off the yoke of his sins upon his neck; to cease from doing evil, and to learn to do well:

and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; to his poor subjects, and especially to the poor captives the Jews, Daniel might chiefly bear upon his mind, whom the king had ill used, shown no compassion to, and had greatly distressed; but is now counselled to relieve their wants, and give generously to them out of the vast treasures he was master of:

if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity; peace or prosperity; perhaps by such a conduct there may be a reprieve for a while, the evil portended and threatened by this dream may be deferred for a time; and though the decree of the most High cannot be altered, yet the execution of it may be protracted, and prosperity be lengthened out. Daniel could not assure the king of this; but as there was a possibility, and even a probability of it, as in the case of Nineveh, and others, whose ruin was threatened, and yet upon repentance was prolonged; it was highly advisable to try the experiment, and make use of such a conduct, in hope of it; and the rather, since the humiliation of princes, and their reformation, though but external, is observed by the Lord, as in the case of Ahab. Aben Ezra, Jacchiades, and Ben Melech, render it, "if it may be an healing of thine error"; that is, the pardon of thy sins, that they may be forgiven thee; see Acts 8:22.

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