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Dissertation 22.

CAPTURE OF BABYLON.

Daniel 5:31

IF the period of the city’s capture could be accurately determined, many difficulties would be cleared up. Calvin supposes it to have occurred in the last and eighth year of Belshazzar’s reign, but the majority of commentators place it in the seventeenth or eighteenth year. Willet makes his third year his last, as also Bullinger and Oecolampadius, and this is done by following the short Hebrew Chronicle, which places it at the fifty-second year of the desolation of Jerusalem, and the seventieth of the kingdom of Babylon. The Oriental Chronicle, according to the author of “The Times of Daniel,” assigns twenty years, and the Alexandrian Chronicle only four to this monarch; and such being the conflicting testimony of the most ancient and authentic documents, it naturally happens that modern writers select their own dates and their own systems according, first, to their own acquaintance with the subject; and next, to their own judgment of the best selection of authorities which can be made. The only class of divines who appear disingenuous in such selections are those Germans who attempt to impugn the historical accuracy of this Prophet, by tacitly assuming that there is no real, and positive, and consistent knowledge to be obtained from profane writers, and then by asserting that a pseudo-Daniel has displayed either ignorance, carelessness, or deception. They appeal to the historians of Greece, as if they were contemporary with the events which they record, and prefer throwing doubt upon the sacred narrative, to sifting the evidence upon which they believe the profane.

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