12. For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.
12. Propterea rex in ira et indignatione magna edixit ut interficerent omnes sapientes Babylonis.
The former denunciation was horrible, but now Nebuchadnezzar proceeds beyond it; for he not merely threatens the Chaldeans with death, but commands it to be inflicted. Such an example is scarcely to be found in history; but the cause of his wrath must be noticed, since God wished his servant Daniel to be brought forward and to be observed by all men. This was the preparation by which it became generally evident that the wise men of Babylon were proved vain, through promising more than they could perform; even if they had been endowed with the greatest wisdom, they would still have been destitute of that gift of revelation which was conferred upon Daniel. Hence it happened that the king denounced death against them all by his edict; for he might then perhaps acknowledge what he had never perceived before, namely, that their boasting was nothing but vanity, and their arts full of superstitions. For when superstition fails of success, madness immediately succeeds, and when those who are thought and spoken of as remarkably devout, perceive their fictitious worship to be of no avail, then they burst forth into the madness which I have mentioned, and curse their idols, and detest what they had hitherto followed. So it occurred here, when Nebuchadnezzar suspected imposture in so serious a matter, and no previous suspicion of it had entered his mind; but now, when he sees through the deception, in so perplexing a case, and hi such great anxiety, when left destitute of the advice of those from whom he hoped all things, then he is a hundredfold more infuriated than if he had been previously in a state of perfect calmness. It afterwards follows: --