Friedrich Wilhelm Julius Schroeder.

The book of the prophet Ezekiel (Volume v.13 no.1) online

. (page 1 of 71)
Online LibraryFriedrich Wilhelm Julius SchroederThe book of the prophet Ezekiel (Volume v.13 no.1) → online text (page 1 of 71)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

, 2i



Presented by

, L_'2-7 6=

Section )/..>...\.3


Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

Princeton Theological Seminary Library













■atend according to Act of Congress, in the year 1876, taf

IB the Office of the Librarian of Congress at WuhinBtoo.


In the following exposition of the Book of Daniel, the undersigned has occupied an exe-
getical and critical position, the peculiarity of wliich will probably not be overlooked, on a care-
ful comparison mth the views and methods of other recent expositors. Wliile he lias held fast tc
the authenticity of the book as a wliole, although it was difficult for him to change his formet
opinion respecting the composition of the book, that it originated during the Maccabsean age,
and to conform it to the results of the thorough investigations of M. v. Niebuhr, Pusey, Ziin-
del, Kranichfeld, Volck, Fuller, and othei-s, wliich demonstrated its composition during the
captivity, he is still ol)liged to retain liis former doubts with respect to tlic greater portion of
Chap. xi. ^particularly vs. .5-39). The reasons which determine him to this conclusion, are
certainly of an internal character only. They result in the conviction that a particularizing
prophecy, cmljracing the history of centuries, as it is found in that section, forms so marked a
contrast to everything in the line of specializing i)rediction that occurs elsewliere in the pro-
phetic literature of the Old Testament, that only the theory of an interpolating revision of its
prophetic contents, imposed on it during the period of the Seleucid persecutions, or soon
afterward, seems to afford a really satisfactory explanation of its paiticulars. Granted, that
In the face of tlie unanimous testimony of all the external witnesses to the integrity of tlie pro-
phet's text, the subjective nature of a criticism, such as is involved in this conclusion, may l)e
censured; granted, that it may be termed inconsequent, that the intimate unity of the well-
planned, well-adapted, and well-arranged work is thus broken through at but a single point ;
yet the analoyia visionis prophetic/B, whicli furnishes the motive for our decision, appears to us
to be no less a cert.ain, objectively admissible, and most weighty criterion in critical questions
like the present, than is the analorjia fidei in tlie domain of Scriptural dogmatics. Nor wag
the solution of the many difficulties that were encountered, as it resulted from the assumption
of an e.K eventu interpolation at a single point, permitted to restrain us from submitting tlie pro-
gressive results of our investigation to the careful inspection of Biblical scholare belonging to
wider circles, so far as the plan and design of the theological and houiiletical Bible-work
permitted such a course. [The American reviser has taken the liberty of combating the au-
tlior's view as to tlie interpolation of the passage in question.]

In llie treatment of a prophetic book like the one before us, it is evident that the homiletic
element must occupy a very subordinate place. Nor could it be a principal aim for an exegete
to obtain dogmatic results and modes of presenting them, from such a prophet as Daniel.
For this reason we have preferred to follow the example of one of our esteemed co-laljorers
(Dr. Biihr, in his exposition of the Books of Kings), and accordingly we have given the title
of " i?<^ (CO- fundamental principles related, to the history of salvation^' to the section ordinarily
devoted to that object, and in the same connection we have noticed the apologetic questions
that jjreseuted themselves, and also have indicated what was suitable for practical and homi-
letical treatment, in addition to the features designated by that heading.

We have devoted an especially careful attention, as in the case of our former exposition of
the Song of Solomon, to the history and literature of the exposition of tliis prophet, both as a
whole and with reference to its principal parts severally. Especially has the history of the
exposition of the difficult and important vision of the 70 weeks of years, ^chap. ix., 24-27,)
l.een sketched by us as thoroughly as was possiljle, more thoroughly, we believe, than in anj
of the recent and latest commentaries on Daniel.


Of the most recent exegetical and critical literature on this projihet, it was unfortunately
impossible to notice two works that a|)|)earecl while this book was in press : the commentary
of Kt'il (in Keil and Delitzsch's Bible-work on the O. T.), and the monograph by P. Caspari
Znf Eiiifuhrmig in das Buck Daniel (Leipsic, Dorffling und Franke).

3Iay our attem])t to add a further new and independent contribution to the exegetical lite-
rature on the most mysterious and difficult of all the prophets, which has recently been enriched
by somewhat numerous, and in some respects not uuiniportant treatises, find that tolerant recep-
tion, at least on the part of Biljle students who share our views in substance, which it may
ai^propriately claim, in view of the unusual difficulty attending the execution of it<! object.

Db, zookler.

Oreijmald, April. 1869



§ 1. The Book of Daniei,, Considered as a Protottpe op the Canonical Apocaltpss.

The peculiarities of the book of Daniel, which explain, on the one hand, its position in the
Jewish canon among the historical Hagiographa, and, on the other, its being classed in the
Septuagint, Vulgate, and Luther, with the writings of the greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah,
and Ezekiel, are both internal and external. They arise chiefly from the circumstance that
the writer lived and wrought in Bahylonia, not as a member of the community of exiled Jews,
but as a naturalized Bal>ylonian at the court of Nebuchadnezzar and his successors — not, like
Ezekiel, discharging priestly functions among his people, but performing duty as an oflicer of
the state and chief of the Magi. He was thus jjossessed of honors and emoluments akin to
those of Joseph, his patriarchal prototype, at the court of the Egy|)tian Pharaoh ; but his
removal, at a later date, from his prominent position, and his death, not long after the over-
throw of the ChaldiBan dynasty by the Persians, prevented his exerting a decisive influence on
the welfare of his people.

The book of Daniel's prophecies owes its origin to a period of the deepest national misery of
the people of God — a time of the profoundest degradation and confusion, which linds its only
parallel in the condition of Israel, when, wholly separated from its native soU, it languished
in Egypt, the ignominious " house of bondage " and oppressive " iron furnace" (Deut. v. 6 ;
iv. 20 ; 1 Kings viii. 51 ; Jer. xi. 4) ; but this earlier period has its counterpart here, not only
retrospectively as regards the severity of the judgment and humiliation, but also prospectively
as respects the abundance of gracious visitation, and the wonderful displays of the Divine
powei'. love, and faithfulness. Both the humiliation and the glory present in the humiliation
are revealed in these prophecies. "Yhejirst or historical division of the book records chiefly the
miracles by which the grace of God was magnified in those who remained faithful during
years of apostasy, suffering, and banishment. The comfortless condition and utter degeneracy
of the nation are seen principally in the second part, the visions and prophetical pictures of
which describe the present and immediate future as a period of severe oppression, universal
apostasy, and unquestioned supremacy of the world-powers arrayed against God, at the close
of which period the Messianic lera of salvation is finally introduced. According to this
division the whole consists of two books — one of narratives (chap, i.-vi.), and the other ol
visions (chap, vii.-xii.) — which are about? equal in length. This circumstance forms a marked
peculiarity of Daniel, as compared with the other prophetical books of the Old Testament,
which sometimes interweave the historical element with the prophetical {e.g., Amos, Isa., Jer.,
etc.), and at others, either reduce the former to narrow limits {e.g., Joel, Micah, Zechariah,
e'c), *r bring it into such prominence as to exclude the ofiice of the seer (.lonah). Tliis bal-
ance between narrative and prophecy, which exists only in Daniel, has its explanation in ta«


origiu of the book in a strange land and in a time of exile — circumstances which f orliade an
arrancremout in direct and perfect harmony with the form of prophetical literature in general.
These circumstances also serve to account for peculiarities in the language oi the book : for its
composition, to the extent of about one-half in Hel)rew, and the remainder (chaj). ii. 4 b.-cbap.
vii.) in the Araninean or Chaldee idiom, which gradually, and as a consequence of the Babylo-
nian captivity and of the Persian supremacy, bscam? the language of the Palestinian .Jews, i-
due solely to its origin, not only in a time of exile, but among the scenes of the exile, and ai
the court of the barbarous conquerors. The historical book of Ezra, which ap])earcd immedi-
ately at the close of the exile, is the only one of the Old-Testament Scriptures which shares
this peculiarity of language, while the prophetical Ijooks {e.g., Jeremiah, which originated at
the time of the exile and when its author was in constant intercourse with the Babylonians),
merely contain isolated ArauiJEan words or paragraplis (see especially Jer. x. 11).

The peculiar literary traits and theological contents of this book, especially in its second or
prophetical part, likewise find their explanation in its origin among the scenes of the cap-
tivity. The prophecies of Daniel, conveyed generally in the form of dreams and visions, and
nowhere enforced l)y inspired addresses or exhortations, and concerning themselves chiefly, if
not exclusively, with the fate of the all-controlling world-power, on the one hand, and, on the
other, with the final triumpli of the Messianic kingdom of God, are thus distinguished from the
earlier proiihetical \vritings by peculiarities which mark the book as the pattern for the so-
called apocalyptic prophecies. In ordinary proijhecies the people of God had usually occupied
the foreground of vision, while the world-powers by which they were threatened, were only
noticed incidentally, and made the objects of "burdens" or threatening prophecies, as iso-
lated representatives of the sjjirit that opposes God. Daniel, on the contrary, takes his posi-
tion in the heart of that world-power, whicli had overthrown and subjugated all tlie nations
of the East, and among them the chosen race. From this point of vision he foretells the rise
of a new world-kingdom, which shall destroy the present empire, to be followed, in turn, by
another and still greater power, and so on to the end, when an eternal kingdom of truth and
righteousness shall be established on their ruins, by the direct interference of the God of heaven.
The result of all earthly development, and the succession of judgments visited on the enemies of
God's people, closing with the Messianic or general judgment, form the subject of this pro-
phecy; and the grandeur of its field of vision, compassing all liistory and embracing the
world, together with tlie visional clothing of its teaching and the profound symljolism of its
eschatological descriptions, constitute the features v.hicli stamp it as an apocalypse, in distinc-
tion from all earlier piophecy. Within the Old Testament, this form of prophetical writing
is ai)proached by the closing chapters of Ezekiel (xl.-xlviii.), but it is directly represented
only in tlie former half of Z^chariah (chap, i.-viii.), where the model found in Daniel was
probably copied. In the New Testament it is found, if we except certain brief sections in the
Qosjjelsand Paulina epistles (the eschatological discourse in Matt, xxiv., xxv., and parallel pas-
sages, and 2 Thess. ii.), only in the Revelation of St. John, which is a direct copy and con-
tinuation of the prophecies of Daniel.

Th 'S ' peculiarities, as numerous as they are api)arent and significant, exjjlain why the booh
of Daniel was separated [in the Hebrew Bible] fiom the other prophets and ])laced among
the Hagiograplia, when the Old-Testament canon was formed. Its internal features, consist-
ing in an embrace of all history with an eschatological aim, joined to a visional and symboli-
cal dress, which stamp it as the model of all Biblical (and extra-Biljlical or apocryjjhal) apoc-
alypse, would not of themselves have compelled such a separation ; since many of the later
propVietical writings display clear transitions in matter and form to the field of apocalypse,
and permit tlie distinction between this ri))est fruit of Scriptural jjrophetical development
and propliecy in the narrower sense, to appear as the result of the gradual growth. The decisive
reason for the disposition made of this book, must be found in its peculiar division into
historical and prophetical parts, and in its composition in Hebrew and Aramaic. This
npp^ars with irrefragal>le certainty from its assignment to a place immediately before Ezra, the
only other book in tlie canon which frames in Chaldee a section of considerable extent between
the Hebrew portions of its text.


An additional circumstance, wliith may have contributed to placing the present book amonj;
the Hagiographa, was the [presumed] reiHsiim of its prophetical portion, apparently by a pioun
seer of Maccabrean times, who sought to establish as exact a relation as was possible betweet
the prophecy and its historical fulfillment, as observed by him. This later revision, whicl
affected especially the contents of chapters x.-xii., will be considered below, in connection
with the question of genuineness and integrity.

Note 1. — With reference to the circumstanceg of the times — so deplorable in their condition
and yet so full of displays of Divine grace and wonderful providences — to wV ic-h the book of
Daniel owes its origin, HaveiTiick. in the introduction to his commentary (page 16 et seq.), is
especially thorough and instructive. He justly disputes the opinion of Winer, de Wette, Lee
(Jiidische Oeschichtf, p. 188), and others, according to which the situation of the captive Jews
was not one of especial hardship. " Tlie shame there inflicted on Israel was not exactly insig-
nificant, when it could ins|3ire pious and faithful men with a holy revenge, and lead them to
invoke the Divine indignation on their tormentors ! Remember the 137th Psalm and the
audacious desecration of the Temple vessels by Belshazzar, as Dan. v. records, which lead to the
conclusion tliat such conduct was of frequent occurrence. Even martyrs to the truth, cheer-
ful and undismayed while testifying that Jehovah alone is God and none beside Him, are
revealed in the history of Daniel and his friends (Dan. iii. and vi.) ; to which event the obser-
vation and experience of the wise preacher perhaps refer, when he remarks that ' there is a
just man that perisheth in his righteousness' (Ecc. ^ii. 15).* When we consider the internal
state of the nation in this period, we find further abundant reason for complaint, because of
Israel's sin and misery. Ezekiel addressed the people with earnest censure, because they
listened to his words, but refused to ol)ey them, when he condemned their ways (Eze. xxxiii.
30, sq.), in which they dishonored God among the heathen, and continued to murder, work
abomination, and violate chastity, until men asked. 'Are the people of the Lord, that
are gone forth out of His land*' (xxxiii. 20; xxxvi. 20, 21; cf. chap, xxxiv.). Wliere,
indeed, could greater opportunity l)e found for indulgence in heathen customs by the Israel-
ites, who were at all times excessively addicted to idolatry, than in Baliylon, which was
notorious as the home of luxury and idolatry ? Hence, we must deplore the profound sense
of sin, and of being forsaken liy God, which is so clearly revealed, not only in the destruc-
tion of the temple, and the expulsion of Israel from the holy land, but also in the lack of
prophecy (cf. Sam. ii. i) ; Psa. Ixxiv. 9) ; and which finds its most striking exjiression in the
prayer of Daniel, uttered before the Lord in the name of the people, toward the end of the
captivity.! \ diffurent class, who preferred the cunditiim of the exile to the hairy garment
of the prophet and the rigorous serTic:e of .lehovah, would doulitless enjoy their situation. If
there were no other proof of this, it would appear from the fact that many preferred to remain
in Babylon at tlie close of the exile. But the fate of these apostate souls, who. by the Divine
decree, were at tliis exact juncture separated and cast out as dregs from the healthy and
pious portion of tlie nation, was none the less deplorable on that account." . . . Further,
page 20 : '• But the wretched and outcast nation was, and still continued to be, the j>ea]ile oj
His covpnant, and, therefore, despite their low est.ite. the elect and favorite nation of the Lord.
They were not merely to contiime until the days of tlieir great destiny were fulfilled, but, for
Jehovah's sake, they were to be glorified among the heathen. As, therefore. He had always
afforded tliem miraculous aid in seasons of great tribulation, so extraordinary signs and events,
that transcended the ordinary course of nature, now occurred and secured the good of Israel
while they alarmed the Gentiles ; but at the same time these pointed forward, without exception,
to the future realization of the great of salvation, whose end is the redemption of sinful
man . . . Prophecies and wonders were the gracious means with which Jehovah overwhelmed
Israel and compelled it. to abide l:>y Him, but through which, also, the determined apostates
who would not turn to God, were finally cut out, so that a purified people, which agreed in
confessing Israel's God at least in outward form, could return to the land of its fathers," etc. — This
view of the time of Daniel and its significance, which is held by orthodox exegetes, with few
exceptions (see particularly Auberlen, Drr Pruphet Daniel, etc., 2d ed., p. 26 et seq.) is rejected

* [Theae arguments of Hiivemick, however, are not in point to show the general oppression of the Jews m the latter
portion of the Babylonian exile. The treatment of the three Hebrew children, and at times of Daniel himself, are only
occasional and exceptional instances of Orienbil despotism, when aroused by opposition to an arbitrary and universal edict,
as the immunity and even honors following evince. The book of Esther contains an apt commentary on these capricious
Ticissitudes. The reference to the passage in Eccles, is particularly inapposite, as that book belongs to the Solomonic age.]

t [On the contrary it appears that the chastisement of I-rael by the captivity, became, as it was intended to be, an
•ffcctual cure of oatward idolatry. The very sight of the abomin.ations practised by their heathen captors, seems, as in the
case of similar close cintact with polytheism in Egypt, to have thoroughly d'sgusted and warned them from ail such ten-
dencies. The prayer of Daniel, alluded to by the author, is only a general confession of the pwit sins of the nation, for
which the e.'cile, now drawing near its close, is recognized as the iust oenaltv. The passages in Ezekiel have a much ear Un


by rationalists, inasmuch, as has already bren remarked, they do not admit that Israel's con-
dition during tlie captivity was especially deploralile and fallen, noi- acknowledge the histori-
cal character of the narratives respecting the wonderful displays of Divine power and grace,
which are recorded in this l)ook. And yet another collection of prophecies, whose jrigin in
the time of the exile and at Babylon is considered by rationalistic critics to be an .ncontro-
veitible fact, substantiates the view in question concerning the conditions of the time whicli
underlie our book, in all its bearings, and in many respects, even in its smallest details. The
second part of the prophet Isaiah — wliether with the modem critics, we consider it as the
'■ Pseudo-Isaiah " or " the exilian Isaiah," or admit its genuineness and therewith its
thoroughly prophetic character — describes the condition of the exiled nation in Baljylon, as
well as the striking contrast between their religious and national ruin and wickedness, and the
miracles by whicli the grace of God was magnified in them, in precisely the same colors as does
the book of Daniel, and therefore serves to e.staljlish the authenticity of the contents of this
book in an impressive manner. Isaiah's lamentations because of the turning of many to idola-
try (chap. xlvi. 6, etc. ; Ivii. 5, etc. ; Ix. 3, etc.) ; because of umighteousness, wanton revelry,
and violence (chap. Ivi. 11; Iviii. 2, etc. ; lix. 3, etc) ; because of the discouragement and
lack of faith among even the best of the exiles (chap. Ix. 27 ; xlix. 24 ; li. 12, etc. ; xlv. 9,
etc. ) and on account of the rebellious disposition and insolent .stul :il)omness of the masses (xlviii.
4. 8. 10; Ixiii. 17; Ixiv. 7, etc.) — all these merely recapitulate in detail what is briefly com-
prehended in Daniel's priestly confession and penitential prayer in the affecting language of
bitter lamentation.* Furthermore, the manner in which the deutero-Isaiah refers to the mar-
vellous power and majesty of -Jehovah, as revealed in wonderful signs of every sort (chap. xliv.
6 ; xlv. 11), in multitudes of ])rophecies and promises that have been realized (cha]). xli. 21 et
seq. ; xliii. 9 et seq. ; xliv. 7 et seq. ; xlv. 19, 21 ; xlvi. 10; xlix. 3 etscq.), and in the humili-
ation and destruction of heathen idols and their worshippers, touches closely upon the corres-
ponding descriptions in both parts of Daniel, the historical as well as the prophetical and
symbolical (see especially chap. ii. 47 ; iii. 28 ; iv. 31 et seq. ; vi. 27 et seq. ; vii. 13 et seq. ;
is. 24 et seq.). The relations of God's people to tlieir heathen oppressors and their gods, on
the one hand, and to their covenant God, Jehovah, and His displays of grace and promises
of deliverance, on the other, are described by I)oth ])rophets with substantially the same re-
sult ; and there remains only this difference, that the mode of statement employed by Isaiah,
accords with the older usage of spoken and written prophetical language, while Daniel illus- .
trates the fate of kingdoms in the present and future from a decidedly apocalyptic point of
view. The following note treats specifically of this important difference between our prophet
and liis earlier predecessors.

Note 2. — The relation of Daniel, as the original representative of Scriptural apocalypse, to
the earlier prophets, is considered in an especially instructive manner by Auberlen {Der
Prophet Daniel, etc., \>. 2 sq.): "The prophets generally occupy an intro-Israelitish stand-
point, from whence they view the future of God's kingdom. The congregation of His people
constantly occupies the foreground with them, and the world-j)owei's enter their range of
vision only as they interfere in the present or immediate future of God's people. . . . The
contrary holds with Daniel. Himself separated fiom the lioly land and nation, and living
and discharging duty as a high official at the Babylonian and Persian courts, he presents the
development of the world-power at the outset as the cliief object of his prophecies, and the
kingdom of God is relegated significantly to the background. If the other prophets glance
occasionally from their post in Zion to the south, the north, or the east, as one or another
world-kingdom is presented to their vision, Daniel, from the heart of the world-power, over-
looks its entire development, and not until his glance has penetrated through all its changing
forms does he rest in Zion, recognizing her affliction and punishment, but also her triumph

Online LibraryFriedrich Wilhelm Julius SchroederThe book of the prophet Ezekiel (Volume v.13 no.1) → online text (page 1 of 71)