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Daniel 4:19

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Daniel - was astonied for one hour - He saw the design of the dream, and he felt the great delicacy of interpreting it. He was not puzzled by the difficulties of it. He felt for the king, and for the nation; and with what force and delicacy does he express the general portent; "The dream to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies!"

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar - Daniel 4:8. It has been objected that the mention in this edict of “both” the names by which Daniel was known is an improbable circumstance; that a pagan monarch would only have referred to him by the name by which he was known in Babylon - the name which he had himself conferred on him in honor of the god (“Belus”) after whom he was called. See the note at Daniel 1:7. To this it may be replied, that although in ordinary intercourse with him in Babylon, in addressing him as an officer of state under the Chaldean government, he would undoubtedly be mentioned only by that name; yet, in a proclamation like this, both the names by which he was known would be used - the one to identify him among his own countrymen, the other among the Chaldeans. This proclamation was designed for people of all classes, and ranks, and tongues Daniel 4:1; it was intended to make known the supremacy of the God worshipped by the Hebrews. Nebuchadnezzar had derived the knowledge of the meaning of his dream from one who was a Hebrew, and it was natural, therefore, in order that it might be known by whom the dream had been interpreted, that he should so designate him that it would be understood by all.

Was astonied - Was astonished. The word “astonied,” now gone out of use, several times occurs in the common version; Ezra 9:3; Job 17:8; Job 18:20; Ezekiel 4:17; Daniel 3:24; Daniel 4:19; Daniel 5:9. Daniel was “amazed” and “overwhelmed” at what was manifestly the fearful import of the dream.

For one hour - It is not possible to designate the exact time denoted by the word “hour” - שׁעה shâ‛âh According to Gesenius (“Lex.”), it means moment of time; properly, a look, a glance, a wink of the eye - German, “augenblick.” In Arabic the word means both a moment and an hour. In Daniel 3:6, Daniel 3:15, it evidently means immediately. Here it would seem to mean a short time. That is, Daniel was fixed in thought, and maintained a profound silence until the king addressed him. We are not to suppose that this continued during the space of time which we call an hour, but he was silent until Nebuchadnezzar addressed him. He would not seem to be willing even to speak of so fearful calamities as he saw were coming upon the king.

And his thoughts troubled him - The thoughts which passed through his mind respecting the fearful import of the dream.

The king spake and said … - Perceiving that the dream had, as he had probably apprehended, a fearful significancy, and that Daniel hesitated about explaining its meaning. Perhaps he supposed that he hesitated because he apprehended danger to himself if he should express his thoughts, and the king therefore assured him of safety, and encouraged him to declare the full meaning of the vision, whatever that might be.

Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee - Let such things as are foreboded by the dream happen to your enemies rather than to you. This merely implies that he did not desire that these things should come upon him. It was the language of courtesy and of respect; it showed that he had no desire that any calamity should befall the monarch, and that he had no wish for the success of his enemies. There is not, in this, anything necessarily implying a hatred of the enemies of the king, or any wish that calamity should come upon them; it is the expression of an earnest desire that such an affliction might not come upon him. If it must come on any, such was his respect for the sovereign, and such his desire for his welfare and prosperitry, that he preferred that it should fall upon those who were his enemies, and who hated him. This language, however, should not be rigidly interpreted. It is the language of an Oriental; language uttered at a court, where only the words of respect were heard. Expressions similar to this occur not unfrequently in ancient writings. Thus Horace, b. iii. ode 27:

Hostium uxores puerique caecos

Sentiant motus orientis Austri.”

And Virgil, Georg. iii. 513:

Di meliora piis, erroremque liostibus ilium.”

“Such rhetorical embellishments are pointed at no individuals, have nothing in them of malice or ill-will, are used as marks of respect to the ruling powers, and may be presumed to be free from any imputation of a want of charity.” - Wintle, in loc.

Uriah Smith
Daniel and the Revelation, 89

Verse 19

The hesitation of Daniel, who sat astonished for one hour, did not arise from any difficulty he had in interpreting the dream, but from its being so delicate a matter to make it known to the king. Daniel had received favor from the king, — nothing but favor, so far as we know, — and it came hard for him to be the bearer of so terrible a threatening of judgment against him as was involved in this dream. He was troubled to determine in what way he could best make it known. It seems the king anticipated something of this kind, and hence assured the prophet by telling him not to let the dream or the interpretation trouble him; as if he had said, Do not hesitate to make it known, whatever bearing it may have upon me. Thus assured, Daniel speaks; and where can we find a parallel to the force and delicacy of his language: “The dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.” A calamity is set forth in this dream, which we would might come upon your enemies rather than upon you.DAR 89.3

Nebuchadnezzar had given a minute statement of his dream; and as soon as Daniel informed him that the dream applied to himself, it was evident that he had pronounced his own sentence. The interpretation which follows is so plain that it need not detain us. The threatened judgments were conditional. They were to teach the king that the Heavens do rule, the word heavens here being put for God, the ruler of the heavens. Hence Daniel takes occasion to give the king counsel in view of the threatened judgment. But he does not denounce him with harshness and censoriousness. Kindness and persuasion are the weapons he chooses to wield: “Let my counsel be acceptable unto thee.” So the apostle beseeches men to suffer the word of exhortation. Hebrews 13:22. If the king would break off his sins by righteousness, and his iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, it might result in a lengthening of his tranquillity, or, as the margin reads, “An healing of thine error.” That is, he might even have averted the judgment the Lord designed to bring upon him.DAR 90.1

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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.
Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 514-22

This chapter is based on Daniel 4.

Exalted to the pinnacle of worldly honor, and acknowledged even by Inspiration as “a king of kings” (Ezekiel 26:7). Nebuchadnezzar nevertheless at times had ascribed to the favor of Jehovah the glory of his kingdom and the splendor of his reign. Such had been the case after his dream of the great image. His mind had been profoundly influenced by this vision and by the thought that the Babylonian Empire, universal though it was, was finally to fall, and other kingdoms were to bear sway, until at last all earthly powers were to be superseded by a kingdom set up by the God of heaven, which kingdom was never to be destroyed. PK 514.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 126-7

Paul says further: “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Verses 14, 15. One of the lessons that we are to learn in the school of Christ is that the Lord's love for us is far greater than that of our earthly parents. We are to have unquestioning faith and perfect confidence in Him. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” Verses 16, 17. 8T 126.1

May the Lord help you, as a diligent student in the school of Christ, to learn to lay your burdens on Jesus. And if you are free in His love, you will look above and away from these annoying trials. Think of what Jesus has endured for you, and never forget that it is part of the legacy that we have received as Christians, to be partakers with Him of His sufferings, that we may be partakers with Him of His glory. 8T 126.2

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