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Lecture Twenty-Fifth

WE began yesterday to explain the passage where Daniel relates how the queen advised King Belshazzar to send for the Prophet. We shewed how the king was here convicted of ingratitude, in suffering such a Prophet of God to be in obscurity so long, because that memorable prophecy, already treated, ought to have been well known and in everybody’s mouth, as conferring a permanent authority on the holy man. Now, when Daniel says, the queen entered the banqueting-room; very probably she was not the king’s wife, but his grandmother. I have expressed my intention of not contending the point, since in doubtful cases every one ought to enjoy his own unbiased judgment. But it is incongruous to say, The king was feasting with his wife and concubines, and then to add, “the queen entered the banqueting-room.” Hence we suppose her to be called Queen, through the honor, rank, and respect which she still enjoyed, without any power. The testimony of Herodotus confirms this view, for he praises the queen of King Nebuchadnezzar for her singular prudence, calling him Labynetus and her Nitocris. 259259     Herod., lib. i.e. 185 and 188. It is far more probable that this matron was absent from a banquet unsuitable to her age and gravity, since she would scarcely be feasting with those who were thus devoting themselves to luxury. When she enters the room, she reminds the king of Daniel, and she now gives the reason why he surpasses all the magi and soothsayers, the diviners and the Chaldees.

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