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There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom -s the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers:
Forasmuch as an excellent spirit and knowledge and understanding, interpretation of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubt.", were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.
'1 hen was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel" which art of the children of the captivity ofJudah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry.
I have heard of thee that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is in thee.
And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof; but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing.
And I have heard of thee that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.
Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another: yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation thereof.
0 thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour:
And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew, and whom he would he kept alive, and whom he would he set up, and whom he would he put down.
But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:
And he was driven from the sons of men, and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the most high God -ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.
And thou, his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knowest all this:
But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven, and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou and thy lords, thy wives and concubines have drunk wine in them, and thou hast praised the gods of silver and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the GOD in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified.
Then was the part of the hand sent from him, and this writing was written. And this is the writing that was written; MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL, thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. FERES; thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
vot. iv. K Then
'Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Datriel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he .should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
It has already been observed that Belshazzar was both a weak and a wicked prince, and he certainly de. served that character: for what wise king would have been revelling and feasting, when his city and kingdom were on the very brink of ruin? and what wickedness could exceed.the sacrilegious acts he committed, . in profaning the sacred vessels in so contemptuous a manner? Short was the triumph of his impious mirth! the sentence of condemnation appeared in legible characters, and struck his guilty mind with astonishment and terror, even before he knew the purport of them.
Daniel, it is probable, (having received no particular command from the Lord to go to Belshazzar),.kept at a distance from this scene of riot and profaneness; perhaps he was gone to rest, or engaged in prayer; or he might, though reckoned among the tvise men, stay away, as. the king sent only for the magicians and astrologers.
The queen, who entered the banqueting-room, was Nitocris, the king's mother, who was called queen by way of eminence, because she <had the management of the kingdom; Belshazzar being so entirely inattentive to it, that he did not even know Daniel, though he was one of the ministers of state; but Nitocris, who constantly employed him, knew him well; and perhaps, it was by hij advice, that she governed with so much wisdom and prudence, and preserved the kingdom to her son for so many years.
5 SECTION SECTION LVII.
tHl FALL Of BABYLON.
From Isaiah, Chap. xlv, xlvi.— Jer. Chap. If.
And the Lord, as he had promised, held the right hand of Cyrus to subdue nations before him; he went before him to break in pieces the gates of brass, and to cut in sunder the bars of iron.
To give him the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that Cyrus might know, that the Lou D who called him by his name was the God of Israel.
The Lord frustrated the tokens of the liars, and made diviners mad; he turned wise men backward, and made their knowledge foolish.
He confirmed the words of his servants, and performed the counsel of his messengers.
He said to the deep, Be dry, and dried up the river of Babylon.
One post ran to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to shew the king of Babylon, that his city was taken at one end.
That the passages were stopped, and the reed* burnt with fire, and the men of war affrighted.
The mighty men of Babylon forbore to fight, they remained in their strong holds, their might failed, they became as women.
Her princes, her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, were drunken; they fell into a perpetual sleep, from which they never awaked, for the king whose name is the Lokd of Hosts had ordained it.
The broad walls of Babylon were utterly broken, her high gates were burnt with fire, the people laboured in vain, and the folk in the fire, till they were weary,
K 2 for «
« for in that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans taken and slain.
And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.
Bel bowed down, Nebo stooped; they could not deliver their people, they themselves went into captivity.
Come and sit down in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground; there is no throne, 0 daughter of the Chaldeans: thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate. Thou shalt no more be called the Lady of Kingdoms *!
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
The foregoing Section is the prophetic account of the taking of the famous city of Babylon: no other history is given of it in sacred writ, nor was there any other necessary, because there is no reason to doubt but that what the Lord had said should come to pass, actually did so: and indeed the completion of the predictions of the prophets is strongly confirmed by the relations given by heathen authors.
Herodotus and Xenophon, two ancient writers, inform us that Cyrus found the siege of Babylon a very difficult work at first, for the walls were high and impregnable, the city was well furnished with men, and fully supplied with all kinds of provisions for twenty years, as they had a great deal of void ground within their walls, both for pasture and tillage; and the inhabitants, thinking themselves secure, defied and derided
• It will be perceived that I have taken a liberty with the text in this Section; but as it appears even from heathen authors) that the circumstances predicted by the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah were literally fulfilled. I thought there would be no impropriety in changing the tenses, so as to make them the historians of this wonderful event,