Daniel 2:49


King James Version (KJV)

Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

American King James Version (AKJV)

Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

American Standard Version (ASV)

And Daniel requested of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel was in the gate of the king.

Basic English Translation (BBE)

And at Daniel's request, the king gave Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego authority over the business of the land of Babylon: but Daniel was kept near the king's person.

Webster's Revision

Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

World English Bible

Daniel requested of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel was in the gate of the king.

English Revised Version (ERV)

And Daniel requested of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel was in the gate of the king.

Clarke's Daniel 2:49 Bible Commentary

Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon - He wished his three companions promoted, who had shared his anxieties, and helped him by their prayers. They all had places of trust, in which they could do much good, and prevent much evil.

Daniel sat in the gate of the king - That is, was the chief officer in the palace; and the greatest confidant and counselor of the king. But whatever his influence and that of his friends was, it extended only over the province of Babylon; not through the empire.

Barnes's Daniel 2:49 Bible Commentary

Then Daniel requested of the king ... - In his own remarkable prosperity, and in the extraordinary honors conferred on him, he did not forget the companions of his humbler days. They were his countrymen; they had been captives with him; they had been selected with a view to stand with him before the king Daniel 1:3-4; they had shared with him in his rules of abstinence Daniel 1:11-17; they had all passed an honorable examination before the king Daniel 1:18-19; they had united with him in supplication to God that he would disclose the meaning of the vision Daniel 2:17-18; and now it was proper that they should be remembered by him who had been so signally honored.

Over the affairs of the province of Babylon - In what particular departments of business they were employed is not mentioned; but it would seem that all that especially pertained to this province was entrusted to them. Daniel had the general superintendence, but the subordinate duties growing out of the office were entrusted to them. The fact that the king granted the request shows the influence that Daniel had at the court. The reasons which influenced the king in granting the request may have been, not only the favor with which he regarded Daniel, but the fact that the duties of the office conferred on him now were such as to require assistance, and the remembrance of the virtues ot these youths when they stood before him.

But Daniel sat in the gate of the king - The post of chief honor and dignity as a counselor of the king. The "gate" of a city in the East, being a chief place of concourse, was the place where courts were held, and public business was usually transacted. See the notes at Job 29:7. To say, therefore, that he "sat in the gate of the king," is merely to say that he occupied a place with the chief counselors and dignitaries of the realm. The phrase "Sublime Porte," that is, "the Sublime Gate," is still employed at Constantinople to denote the government of the sultan, for, in the earlier days of Ottoman rule, the reigning sovereign, as is still the case in some parts of the East, held courts of justice and levees at the entrance of his residence. See "Harper's Magazine," vol. iv. p. 333. The office of Daniel was, perhaps, not far different from that of the grand vizier of the Turkish government. See Murray's "Ency. Geog." vol. ii. p. 202.


Among the lessons of practical value suggested by this chapter, we may notice the following:

(1) We have an instance Daniel 2:1-3 of the methods which were resorted to in early periods of the world to ascertain what the future would be. This great monarch relied on a dream which greatly disturbed him, and on the power which he supposed was entrusted to men to interpret dreams. In common with the prevailing spirit of his times, and of all ancient times (notes, Daniel 2:1), he believed that dreams might be regarded as prognostics of future events; that they were under Divine direction; and that all that was necessary to make them safe guides in reference to what is to occur, was that they should be properly interpreted. In common, too, with all the people of ancient times, and with most of modern times, the king here referred to had an earnest desire to look into the future. There has been no desire in the human bosom stronger than this. We are so made that we wish to lift the mysterious veil which shrouds the future; to penetrate the deep darkness which rests on the unseen world.

Our great interests are there. The past is fixed, and cannot now affect us, except by the consequences of what we have done, and by teaching us lessons of value derived from our own observation, and that of others. But the future is not yet fixed. Man, so anxious to know what this is to be, finds himself in respect to it peculiarly unendowed. In relation to the past, he is endowed with the faculty of "memory," but with nothing corresponding to this pertaining to "the future." He can treasure up what has occurred, but he cannot in like manner make the future pass before his mind, that he may become wise by knowing what will take place in far distant times. There can be no doubt that God could have endowed the mind with one faculty as well as the other - for he has it himself - but there were obvious reasons why it should not be done. Destitute, then, as man was of this power, one great object of human inquiry has been to see whether the deficiency could be supplied, and whether something might not be found which would be to the future substantially what the memory is to the past. The efforts and results on this subject - one of which we have in the chapter before us - constitute one of the most instructive chapters of the history of our race, and show how effectually God has bounded the limits of human investigation in this respect. Among those methods of attempting to penetrate the future, and of laying open its deep mysteries, may be noticed the following:

(a) Astrology. It was supposed that the stars might exert an influence over the fates of men, and that by observing their positions, conjunctions, and oppositions, it might be ascertained what would be the destiny of individuals and nations. The belief of this has manifested itself more or less in every age; and in such instances as in the word "lunacy," and in the common apprehensions about the influence of the moon on health and on vegetation, may be still seen traces of that belief. Even Lord Bacon held that "astrology was a science not to be "rejected," but reformed;" and in the early periods of the world it was a "fair" subject of investigation whether the heavenly bodies actually exerted such an influence, and whether, if it were so, it was possible to ascertain the laws by which this was done. This was the so-called science of astrology.

(b) Necromancy. The belief of this also prevailed in nearly all ancient nations, and we find frequent reference to it in the Scriptures. This consisted in the belief that the dead must be acquainted with the world where they now dwell, so dark to the living, and that it might be possible to make a covenant or compact with them, by which they would be induced to disclose what they knew. It was extensively, if not universally, believed that they re-appeared to men, and that it was not an uncommon occurrence for them to leave their abodes, and to visit the earth again. It was, therefore, not an unnatural and not an unfair subject of inquiry, whether they would not disclose to the more favored among mortals what they knew of the secrets of the invisible world, and what they knew of events which were to come. Compare the notes at Isaiah 8:19.

(c) The arts of divination. These were founded mainly on the investigations of science. It was at first a fair question whether, amidst the wonders which science was unfolding to the view, it might not contribute to lift the veil from the future, and reveal what was yet to come. It took long to ascertain what were the legitimate aims of science, and what might be hoped for from it. Hence, it was directed to the inquiry whether some substance might not be found which would transmute all things to gold; whether some elixir might not be discovered which would arrest all disease, and give immortality to man; and whether science would not disclose some means by which the future could be penetrated, and the mysteries of the invisible world be laid open to the view. It required centuries of investigation, a thousand failures, and the results of long and patient thought, to ascertain what were the true objects of science, and to convince the world that it was not its legitimate purpose to reveal the future to man.

(d) Pagan oracles. It was an early inquiry whether God would not, in some way, lift the veil from the future and disclose its secrets to man. The belief that this would be done seems to be natural to the mind of man; and in all ages, and in all countries, he has supposed that; the future would be thus disclosed. Hence, among the pagan, certain persons claimed to be divinely inspired; hence, such shrines as that at Delphi became celebrated; hence, ambiguous responses were uttered, so expressed as to support the credit of the oracle, whatever might be the result; hence, men were appointed to observe the flights of birds, to inspect the entrails of animals offered in sacrifice, to interpret any unusual phenomena in the clouds, to mark the direction of meteors, and, in general, to examine any unusual appearances in the heavens or the earth, which would seem to furnish any clew by which the future might be known. Much of all this undoubtedly became mere imposture, and justified the remark of Cicero, that he wondered that one augur could meet another without laughing; but there can be no doubt that by many these inquiries were honestly pursued, and that at first all this seemed to be a legitimate subject of inquiry. What forbade man to pursue it? And who could tell but that in some such ways the secrets of the mysterious future could be found out? It demanded long and patient inquiry and observation to show that this could not be so, and that whatever might be indicated by any of these things, it was never designed that they should be the means by which man could be made acquainted with the mysteries of the invisible world.

(e) Dreams. We have seen (notes, Daniel 2:1) that it was an early article of belief that through the medium of dreams the Divine will might be made known, and the secrets of the future disclosed. The "theory" on this subject seems to have been, that during sleep the ordinary laws of the mind are suspended; that the soul is abstracted from the visible world; that the thoughts which it has then must be originated by higher beings; and that in this state it has converse with an invisible world, and may be permitted to see much of what is yet to occur. Compare Intro. to Isaiah, Section VII. (2).

(f) Visions. Men supposed that there might be representations made to certain favored persons respecting the future, their senses being closed to surrounding objects, and that while in an ecstasy, or trance, the mind might have a view of future events. Such were the visions of Balaam; such, in a remarkable manner, were the visions of the true prophets; and so deeply was the conviction that this "might" occur engrafted in the human mind, that the belief of it seems to have had a place among the pagan nations. Compare Introduction to Isaiah, Section 7. (4).

Such were some of the ways by which it was supposed that the future might be penetrated by man, and its secrets disclosed. By allowing man to make trial of these methods, and to pursue them through a period of several thousand years, until he himself saw that they were fruitless, God was preparing the race to feel the necessity of direct communications from himself, and to welcome the true reve lations which he would make respecting things to come.


Wesley's Daniel 2:49 Bible Commentary

2:49 And he set — He substituted them as lieutenants for the king's service under Daniel, but Daniel sat in the king's gate to be ready for the king's chief business.

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