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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



DANIEL 3

 

CHAPTER III.

 

Ver. 1.  Statue.  It was the figure of a man, (C.) the dimensions 90 feet high and 9 broad (W.) being disproportionate; though a man might be represented on the pillar.  Some take it for Nabolpolassar, (C.) or for the king himself.  S. Jer.  W. --- But he never complains of the injury shewn to his own person, and therefore it probably was meant for Bel, the chief god.  C. iv. 5. and xiv. 1.  This nation adored statues.  Bar. vi. 3.  The Persians worshipped only the elements. C. --- Ochus first set up the statue of the goddess Tanais or Anais.  Clem. Protr. --- Dura.  Sept. "enclosed."  S. Jer. --- This happened towards the end of the king's reign, (v. 98, &c.) of course the three young men might be about fifty years old.  C.

 

Ver. 2.  Nobles.  Lit. "satraps," or, "the king's domestics."  Sept. in 1 Esd. viii. 36. --- Judges, or "governors of provinces."  ib. Theodotion, &c. --- Captains of the soothsayers. --- Rulers; "tyrants," here denoting treasurers. C. --- Governors.  Lit. "the grandees who were in power;" (H.) counsellors.  The original adds, (C.) Thopthia, (H.) "lawyers" and orators.  The head of the Turkish religion is called muphti, from the root, (C.) peti, "to teach."  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Symphony.  This and several other terms seem taken from the Greek, though the scythara and sambuca came originally from Chaldea.  C. --- Down.  This and offering incense were sometimes considered as marks of idolatry; so being present at the sermons and churches of Protestants was a sign of joining in their communion, being required for that purpose.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Jews: the three children whom they viewed with a jealous eye.  Daniel was too much exalted, or was absent with other Jews.

 

Ver. 15.  Hand?  Proof of this king's inconstancy, as he had witnessed the power of God!

 

Ver. 18.  He.  Chal. "not"  C. --- By this modest yet resolute answer, they testified their faith in God's power, and their determination rather to suffer death (W.) than to go against their conscience.  H. --- They were ignorant whether God would preserve them from the flames or not, (W.) as he is said to have rescued Abraham from a similar danger.  2 Esd. ix. 7.

 

Ver. 20.  Strongest.  Chal. "mighty in strength;" (H.) his own guards, the usual executioners.

 

Ver. 21.  Coats, or various coloured bandages for the thighs, used by men and women.  Aquila and Th. retain the original term, SarabaroiV.  Chal. saraballa.  C. --- Caps: "tiaras."  H. --- The king alone wore them upright.

 

Ver. 22.  Slew.  They were working still at the furnace, when it burst out and destroyed them, (C.) while the three Jews were  praising God below.  H.  v. 46, 48.

 

Ver. 24.  And, &c.  "What follows I have not found in the Heb. volumes."  S. Jer.  H. --- Here S. Jerom takes notice, that from this verse to v. 91 was not in the Heb. in his time.  But as it was in all the Greek Bibles, (which were originally translated from the Hebrew) it is more than probable that it had been formerly in the Hebrew; or rather in the Chaldaic, in which the Book of Daniel was written.  But this is certain: that it is and has been of old, received by the Church, and read as canonical Scripture in her liturgy and divine offices.  Ch. --- See the pref.  W.

 

Ver. 27.  True; not fickle, and liable to change.  C. --- Opera mutas non mutas consilium.  S. Aug. Conf. i. 4. --- Cappel. argues from this confession, that the piece is not divine, as they would rather have burst out into expressions of admiration, as they do in the canticle below.  But they had done so already, (v. 26) and make this confession, (H.) as Daniel does, C. ix.; reflecting, that if the nation had not transgressed, they would not thus have been exposed to the fury of the king.  Houbigant.  v. 40.  H.

 

Ver. 33.  Thee.  Pagans take occasion to vilify our religion.

 

Ver. 34.  Sake.  This disinterested motive is often urged.  Jos. vii. 9. and 2 Mac. viii. 15.  C.

 

Ver. 35.  One.  Moses used the like terms, and pacified God.  Ex. xxxii.  W.

 

Ver. 38.  Thee, in Jerusalem, (H.) or Judea.  There were chiefs and judges, (C. xiii.) as well as prophets, (Ezech. &c.) among the captives.  Yet the republic was in disorder.  C. --- Sedecias was dead, Joakim in prison, so that no Jewish king ruled over the people; nor was there any prophet in the promised land, Jeremias being either dead or in Egypt.  W. --- Prophets were at least very rare.  M.

 

Ver. 40.  Sacrifice of ourselves.  H. --- They knew not yet whether they would escape.  When they beheld the angel they had greater confidence, and broke forth into a hymn of praise.  Houbig. --- They now offer all they can, a humble heart!

 

Ver. 43.  Name, by rescuing us, that all may confess thy power.  C.

 

Ver. 46.  Brimstone.  Lit. naphtha, (H.) or bitumen, which was very inflammable. --- Tow, besmeared with pitch.  C. --- Dry (malleolis) "bundles" of sticks, or ropes, covered with pitch.  H. --- Manipuli spartœi pice contecti.  Nonius.

 

Ver. 48.  Furnace.  These might be other victims, (H.) or he recapitulates what had been said v. 22, (C.) which is by no means unusual, though Cappel. would hence reject the piece.  Houbigant.

 

Ver. 49.  Furnace: so that it destroyed the Chaldeans, while it had no power to hurt God's servants.  The operation of the laws nature was thus only restrained.  H.

 

Ver. 53.  Temple; heaven, styled the throne, v. 54.  The temple was now in ruins.

 

Ver. 55.  Depths, from whom nothing is hidden. --- Cherubims, as on thy chariot.

 

Ver. 65.  Spirits: winds.  Angels and men are mentioned elsewhere.  C. --- They rejoice that the angels always praise God, and wish that all would strive to imitate them.  W.

 

Ver. 67.  Heat.  Winter and summer.  Some copies have, æstas.  C.

 

Ver. 72.  Darkness.  The privation of light has its use, and invites men to praise.  S. Aug. de nat. Boni. 16.  W.

 

Ver. 86.  Souls, in a separate state.  Angels are invited before.  C.

 

Ver. 88.  Ananias, &c.  They retain their Hebrew names, despising those imposed by the Chaldeans, with their impious manners.  C. i. 7.  The inanimate creation is invited to praise God in its way, (Ps. cxlviii.) as well as those endued with reason.  The former never refuse obedience.  H. --- Hell: the grave.  C.

 

Ver. 90.  And ever.  "Hitherto does not occur in Heb.; and what we have written, is translated from the edition of Theodotion."  S. Jer. v. 24.

 

Ver. 91.  Then hearing these praises, and seeing people walking in the fire.  Grabe's edit. after v. 24, has only, "And Nabuchodonosor heard them singing hymns, and was, " &c.

 

Ver. 92.   The son, or rather (H.) "a son;" niw.  Lowth's Gram. --- He supposed this was some angel or petty god, like Hercules.  Carthus. --- It was the same angel who descended (W.) with them v. 49.  Some have taken him for Jesus Christ.  But S. Aug. observes, that most of these apparitions were made by angels, (Trin. iii. 11.) who are often styled "sons of God."  Job i. 6.  T.  C.

 

Ver. 94.  Smell, such as is felt when people, (H.) or their garments, come too near the fire.  Pagans have sometimes walked through fire; but they first anointed their feet with certain preservatives, as Servius (in Æn. xi.) remarks from Varro.  C. --- Here the fire burnt only the bands, (v. 23, 92.  H.) God making his creatures afford comfort to his servants, as was the case when the Goths attempted to burn S. Benedict.  S. Greg. Dial. iii. 18.  W.

 

Ver. 95.  Changed, refusing to comply against their better knowledge.  The force of reason extorts this concession from the wicked king.  H.

 

Ver. 96.  Destroyed.  Chal. "torn limb from limb, (C.) and their houses be made a dunghill."  C. ii. 5.  H. --- Manner.  One would suppose that he was really converted; but his heart was not changed.  C. iv.  C.

 

Ver. 97.  Promoted.  He granted them greater power: (W.) or Chal. "re-established" them in their former dignities.  Rom. Gr. "He elevated them in honour, and judged them worthy to rule over all the Jews in his kingdom."  Theod.

 

Ver. 98.  Nabuchodonosor, &c.  These three last verses are a kind of preface to the following chapter, which is written in the style of an epistle from the king.  Ch. --- It was probably published in consequence of this miracle.  Here the chap. might properly commence, (C.) as it does in Heb. and Prot. Bibles.  H.

 

 








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