Dissertation 16.


Daniel 4:37

This monarch probably lived but a single year after his recovery; and some writers have thought that his restoration produced a conversion to the worship of the one true God. But Hengstenberg agrees with our author: "Compare Calvin on the passages," says he, "who strikingly proves from them the incorrectness of the opinion of very many expositors as to the radical and entire conversion of Nebuchadnezzar." Calvin is clearly right, for it was customary with the Persians to blend the doctrines of Zoroaster with the Babylonian astrology. 1 The scriptural language of the king has been treated as an argument against the authenticity of the decree. Eichhorn and Bertholdt object to his speaking like an orthodox Jew in the phraseology of the Old Testament. But the affinity of certain phrases with other passages of Scripture, is no argument against its authenticity. The monarch had held much intercourse with Daniel; he had doubtless heard his method of expressing reverence and respect for the one true God, and he would repeat such expressions the more exactly in proportion to his want of personal experience of their meaning. In the case of the edict of Cyrus, brief as it is, several references are found to the prophecies of Isaiah. 2 As to the change of person from the third to the first, Hengstenberg approves of Calvin's suggestion. Oecolampadius considers the king really converted, and through knowing the angel to be the Christ, he supposes him not only a convert, but an apostle. This is far too favorable a view of his character; but it is instructive to ascertain the decisions of various eminent Reformers, and to observe which of them stands the scrutinizing test of an appeal to posterity.

1 Schlosser, p. 279, ap. Heng.

2 Kleinert, p. 142, and V. Colln. ap. Heng., p. 96.