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Commentary On Daniel Volume 1 by Jean Calvin

Daniel 4:8-9

8. But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods, and before him I told the dream, saying,

8. Quousque tandem coram me introductus est Daniel cujus nomen Beltsazar secundum nomen dei mei, et in quo spiritus deorum sanctorum: et somnium coram ipso narravi.

9. O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof.

9. Beltsazar princeps, vel, magister, magorum, quia ego novi quod spiritus deorum sanctorum in te sit, et nullum arcanum to anxium reddit, visiones somnii mei quod vidi, et interpretationem ejus expone.

Here the king of Babylon addresses Daniel kindly, since he saw himself deserted by his own teachers. And hence we gather that no one comes to the true God, unless impelled by necessity. Daniel was not either unknown or far off; for we saw him to have been in the palace. Since then the king had Daniel with him from the first, why did he pass him over? Why did he call the other Magi from all quarters by his edict? Hence, as I have said, it clearly appears he would never have given glory to God, unless when compelled by extreme necessity. Hence he never willingly submitted to the God of Israel; and his affections were clearly but momentary, whenever they manifested any sign of piety. Because he besought Daniel so imploringly, we see his disposition to have been servile; just as all proud men swell out when they do not need any one's help, and become overbearing in their insolence; but when they are reduced to extremity, they would rather lick the dust than not obtain the favor which they need. Such was the king's disposition, since he willingly despised Daniel, and purposely preferred the Magi. But as soon as he saw himself left in difficulties, and unable to find any remedy except in Daniel, this was his last refuge; and he now seems to forget his own loftiness while speaking softly to God's holy Prophet. But I shall proceed with the rest to-morrow.

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