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When this proclamation was made, the magicians ran together more earnestly, and were very ambitious to find out the importance of the writing, but still hesitated about it as much as before. Now when the king's * grandmother saw him cast down at this accident, she began to eneourage him, and to say, that “ there was a certain captive who came from “ Judea, a Jew by birth, but brought away thence by Nebu“ chadnezzar when he had destroyed Jerusalem, whose name “ was Daniel, a wise man, and one of great sagacity in find“ ing out what was impossible for others to discover, and 6 what was known to God alone; who brought to light and "answered such questions to Nebuchadnezzar as no one “ else was able to answer, when they were consulted. She “ therefore desired that he would send for him, and enquire " of him concerning the writing, and to condemn the un“ skilfulness of those that could not find their meaning, and “ this, although what God signified thereby should be of a “ melancholy nature."
3. When Baltasar heard this, he called for Daniel: and when he had discoursed to him what he had learned coneerning him, and his wisdom, and how a divine spirit was with him, and that he alone was fully capable of finding out what others would never have thought of, he desired bim to declare to hiin what this writing meant: That if he did so, he would give him leave to wear purple, and to put a cbain of gold about his neck, and would bestow on him the third part of his dominion, as an honorary reward for his wisdom, that thereby he might become illustrious to those who saw him, and who inquired upon what occasion he obtained such hoa
But Daniel desired, “ T'hat he would keep his gifts “ to himself; for what is the effect of wisdom, and of divine “ revelation, admits of no gifts, and bestows its advantages
on petitioners freely, but that still be would explain the « writing to him: which denoted, that he should soon die, " and this because he had not learned to honour God, and 6 not to admit things above human nature, by what punish“ments his progenitor had undergone for the injuries he had “ offered to God; and because he had quite forgotten how “ Nebuchadnezzar was removed to feed among wild beasts, “ for his impieties, and did not recover his former life
among men, and his kingdom, but upon God's mercy to
* This grandmother, or mother of Baltasar, the queen Dowager of Babylon, (for she is distinguished from bis queen, Dan. v. 10, 23.) seems to have been the famous Nitocris, who fortified Babylon against the Medes and Persians, and in all probability governed under Baltasar, who seems to be a weak and effemigate prince,
“ him, after many supplications and prayers; who did there
upon praise God all the days of his life, as one of almighty
power, and who takes care of mankind. [He also put him “ in mind,] how he had greatly blasphemed against God, " and had made use of his vessels amongst his concubines : “ that therefore God saw this, and was angry with him, and " declared by this writing before-hand what a sad conclu" sion of his life he should come to. And he explained the “ writing thus:-MANEH. This, if it be expounded in " the Greek language, may signify, a Number, because God - hath numbered so long a time for thy life, and for thy go
vernment, and that there remains but a small portion. •66 THEKEL. This signifies, a Weight, and means that “ God hath weighed thy kingdom in a balance, and finds it
going down already. PHARES. This also, in the Greek “ tongue denotes, a Fragment; God will therefore break " thy kingdom in pieces, and divide it among the Medes 6 and Persians.”
4. When Daniel had told the king that the writing upon the wall signified these events, Baltasar was in great sorrow and affliction, as was to be expected when the interpretation was so heavy upon him. However, he did not refuse what he had promised Daniel, although he were become a foreteller of misfortunes to him, but bestowed it all upon him: as reasoning thus, that what he was to reward was peculiar to bimself, and to fate, and did not belong to the prophet, but that it was the
part of a good and a just man to give what he had promised, although the events were of a melancholy nature. Accordingly the king determined so to do. Now after a little while, both himself and the city, were taken by Cyrus, the king of Persia, who fought against him; for it was Baltasar, under whom Babylon was taken, when he had reigned seventeen years. And this is the end of the posterity of king Nebuchadnezzar, as history informs us; but when Babylon was taken by Darius, and when he, with his kinsman Cyrus, had put an end to the dominion of the Babylonians, he was sixty-two years old. He was the son of Astyages, and had another name among the Greeks. Moreover, he took Daniel the prophet, and carried him with him into Media, and honoured him very greatly, and kept him with him; for he was one of the three presidents whom he set over his three hundred and sixty provinces, for into so many did Darius
5. However, while Daniel was in so great dignity, and in so great favour with Darius, and was alone intrusted with every thing by him, as having somewhat divine in him, he was envied by the rest; for those that see others in greater honour than themselves with kings, envy them: and when those that were grieved at the great favour Daniel was in with Darius, sought for an occasion against him, he afforded them no occasion at all, for he was above all the temptations of money, and despised bribery, and esteemed it a very base thing to take any thing by way of reward, even when it might be justly given him, he afforded those that'envied him not the least handle for an accusation. So when they could find nothing for which they might calumniate him to the king: nothing that was shameful or reproachful, and thereby deprive him of the honour he was in with him, they sought for some other method whereby they might destroy him. When therefore they saw that Daniel prayed to God thrce times aday, they thought they had gotten an occasion by which they might ruin him; so they came to Darius, and told him, That “ the princes and governors had thought proper to allow the “ multitude a relaxation for thirty days, that no one might “ offer a petition or prayer either to himself, or to the gods, " but that he who shall transgress this decree shall be cast “ into the den of lions, and there perish." . 6. Whereupon the king, not being acquainted with their wicked design, por suspecting that it was a contrivance of theirs against Daniel, said, he was pleased with this decree of theirs, and he promised to confirın what they desired; he also published an edict to promulgate to the people that decree which the princes had made. Accordingly all the rest took care not to transgress those injunctions, and rested in quiet; but Daniel had no regard to them, but, as he was wont, he stood and prayed to God in the sight of them all: but the princes having met with the occasion they so earnestly sought to find against Daniel, came presently to the king, and accused him, that Daniel was the only person that transgressed the decree, while not one of the rest durst pray to their gods. This discovery they made, not because of his impiety, but because they had watched him, and observed him out of envy; for supposing that Darius did thus out of a greater kindness to him than they expected, and that he was ready to grant him .pardon for this contempt of his injunctions, and envying this very pardon to Daniel, they did not become more favourable to him, but desired he might be cast into the den of lions, according to the law. So Darius, hoping that God would deliver him, and that he would undergo nothing that was terrible by the wild beasts, bid him bear this accident cheerfully: And when he was cast into the den, he put his seal to the stone that lay upon the mouth of the den, and went his way, but he passed all the night without food, and without sleep, being in great distress for Daniel; but when it was day, he got up, and came to the den, and found the seal entire, which he had left the stone sealed withal: he also opened the seal, and cried out, and called to Daniel, and asked him, If he were alive? And as soon as he heard the king's voice, and said, that he had suffered no harm, the king gave order that he should be drawn up out of the den. Now when his enemies saw that Daniel had suffered nothing which was terrible, they would not own that he was preserved by God, and by his providence: but they said, that the lions had been filled full with food, and on that account it was, as they supposed, that the lions would not touch Daniel, nor come to him; and this they alledged to the king: But the king, out of an abhorrence of their wickedness, gave order, that they should throw in a great deal of flesh to the lions; and when they had filled themselves, he gave farther order that Daniel's enemies should be cast into the den, that he might learn whether the lions, now they were full, would touch them or not. And it appeared plain to Darius, after the princes had been cast to the wild beasts, that it was God who preserved Daniel,* for the lions had spared none of them, but tore them all to pieces, as if they had been very hungry, and wanted food. I suppose therefore it was not their hunger, which had been a little before satisfied with abundance of flesh, but the wickedness of these men that provoked them [to destroy the princes;] for if it so please God, that wickedness mighi, by even those irrational creatures, be eșteemed a plain foundation for their punishment.
7. When therefore those that had intended thus to destroy Daniel by treachery, were themselves destroyed, king Darius sent [letters) over all the country, and praised that God whom Daniel worshipped; and said, That “ he was the only true “ God, and had all power.” He had also Daniel in very great esteem, and made him the principal of his friends. Now when Daniel was become so illustrious and famous, on account of the opinion men had that he was beloved of God, he built a tower at Ecbatana in Media: it was a most elegant building, and wonderfully made, and it is still remaining, and
* It is no way improbable that Daniel's enemies might suggest this reason to the king, why the lions did not meddle with him, and that they might suspect the king's kindness to Daniel had procured these lions to be so filled before band, and that thence it was that be encouraged Daniel to submit to this experiment, in hopes of coming off safe ; and that this was the true reason of making so terrible an experiment upon those bis enemies, and all their families, Dan. rii 24. though our other copies do not directly take notice of it.
preserved to this day; and to such as see it, it appears to have been lately built, and to have been no older than that very day; when any one looks upon it, it is * so fresh, flourishing, and beautiful, and no way grown old in so long time, for buildings suffer the same as men do, they grow old as well as they, and by numbers of years their strength is dissolved, and their beauty withered. Now they bury the kings of Media, of Persia, and Parthia, in this tower, to this day, and he who was entrusted with the care of it, was a Jewish priest, which thing is also observed to this day : But it is fit to give an account of what this man did, which is most admirable to hear; for he was so happy as to have strange revelations made to him, and those as to one of the greatest of the prophets, insomuch, that while he was alive he had the esteem and applause both of the kings and of the multitude, and now he is dead, he retains a remembrance that will never fail, for the several books that he wrote and left behind him are still read by us till this time; and from them we believe that Daniel conversed with God; for he did not only prophecy of future events, as did the other prophets, but he also determined the time of their accomplishment: And while the prophets used to foretel misfortunes, and on that account were disagreeable both to the kings and to the multitude, Daniel was to them a prophet of good things, and this to such a degree, that by the agreeable nature of his predictions, he procured the goodwill of all men, and by the accomplishment of them, be procured the belief of their truth, and the opinion of [a sort of] divinity for himself, among the multitude. He also wrote and left behind him what made manifest the accuracy and undeniable veracity of his predictions: For he saith, That “ when he was in Susa, the metropolis of Persia, and went “ out into the field with his companions, there was, on the “ sudden, a motion and concussion of the earth, and that he “ was left alone by himself, his friends flying away from bim, 66 and that he was disturbed, and fell on his face, and on his “ two hands, and that a certain person touched him, and, at " the same time, bid him rise, and see what would befal his “ countrymen after many generations. He also related, that 66 when he stood
up, he was shown a great ram, with many
* What Josephus here says, that the stones of the sepulchres of the kings of Persia at this tower, or those perhaps of the same sort that are now commonly called the ruins of Persepolis, continued so entire and unaltered in his days, as if they were lately put there, “ I, says Reland, here can shew to be true, as to " those stones of the Persian kings mausoleum which Corn. Brunius brake off « and gave me.” He ascribed this to the hardness of the stones, which scarcely yields to iron tools, and proves frequently too hard for cutting by the chisse!, but oftentimes breaks it to pieces.