on Daniel 4 :15
Leave the stump - Let him not be destroyed, nor his kingdom alienated.
on Daniel 4 :15
Nevertheless, leave the stump of his roots in the earth - As of a tree that is not wholly dead, but which may send up suckers and shoots again. See the note at Isaiah 11:1. In Theodotion this is, τὴν φυήν τῶν ῥιξῶν tēn phuēn tōn rizōn - the nature, germ. Schleusner renders the Greek, "the trunk of its roots." The Vulgate is, germen radicum ejus, "the germ of his roots." The Codex Chisianus has: ῥίξαν μίαν ἄφετε ἀυτοῦ ἐν τῇ γῇ rizan mian aphete autou en tē gē - "leave one of his roots in the earth." The original Chaldee word (עקר ‛ı̂qqar) means a "stump, trunk" (Gesenius); the Hebrew - עקר ‛ēqer - the same word with different pointing, means a shrub, or shoot. It occurs only once in Hebrew Lev 25:47, where it is applied to the stock of a family, or to a person sprung from a foreign family resident in the Hebrew territory: "the stock of the stranger's family." The Chaldee form of the word occurs only in Daniel 4:15, Daniel 4:23, Daniel 4:26, rendered in each place "stump," yet not meaning "stump" in the sense in which that word is now commonly employed. The word "stump" now means the stub of a tree; the part of the tree remaining in the earth, or projecting above it after the tree is cut down, without any reference to the question whether it be alive or dead. The word here used implies that it was still alive, or that there was a germ which would send up a new shoot, so that the tree would live again. The idea is, that though the mighty tree would fall, yet there would remain vitality in the root, or the portion that would remain in the earth after the tree was cut down, and that this would spring up again - a most striking image of what would occur to Nebuchadnezzar after he should be cast down from his lofty throne, and be again restored to his reason and to power.
Even with a band of iron and brass - This expression may be regarded as applicable either to the cut-down tree, or to the humbled monarch. If applied to the former, it would seem that the idea is, that the stump or root of a tree, deemed so valuable, would be carefully secured by an enclosure of iron or brass, either in the form of a hoop placed round the top of the stump, to preserve it from being opened or cracked by the heat of the sun, so as to admit moisture, which would rot it; or around the roots, to bind it together, with the hope that it would grow again; or it may refer to a railing or enclosure of iron or brass, to keep it from being plowed or dug up as worthless. In either case, it would be guarded with the hope that a tree so valuable might spring up again. If applied to the monarch - an explanation not inconsistent with the proper interpretation of the passage - it would seem to refer to some method of securing the royal maniac in bonds of iron and brass, as with the hope that his reason might still be restored, or with a view to keep him from inflicting fatal injury on himself. That the thing here referred to might be practiced in regard to a valuable tree cut down, or broken down, is by no means improbable; that it might be practiced in reference to the monarch is in accordance with the manner in which the insane have been treated in all ages and countries.
In the tender grass of the field - Out of doors; under no shelter; exposed to dews and rains. The stump would remain in the open field where the grass grew, until it should shoot up again; and in a condition strongly resembling that, the monarch would be excluded from his palace and from the abodes of men. For the meaning of this, as applied to Nebuchadnezzar, see the note at Daniel 4:25. The word which is rendered "tender grass," means simply young grass or herbage. No emphasis should be put on the word tender. It simply means that he would be abroad where the grass springs up and grows.
And let it be wet with the dew of heaven - As applied to the tree, meaning that the dew would fall on it and continually moisten it. The falling of the dew upon it would contribute to preserve it alive and secure its growth again. In a dry soil, or if there were no rain or dew, the germ would die. It cannot be supposed that, in regard to the monarch, it could be meant that his remaining under the dew of heaven would in any way contribute to restore his reason, but all that is implied in regard to him is the fact that he would thus be an outcast. The word rendered "let it be wet" - יצטבע yı̂tseṭaba‛ from צבע tseba‛ - means, to dip in, to immerse; to tinge; to dye; though the word is not found in the latter senses in the Chaldee. In the Targums it is often used for "to dye, to color." The word occurs only in this chapter of Daniel Dan 4:15, Daniel 4:23, Daniel 4:33 and is in each place rendered in the same way. It is not used in the Hebrew scripture in the sense of to dye or tinge, except in the form of a noun - צבע tseba‛ - in Judges 5:30 : "To Sisera a prey of divers colors, a prey of divers colors of needlework, of divers colors of needlework." In the passage before us, of course, there is no allusion of this kind, but the word means merely that the stump of the tree would be kept moist with the dew; as applicable to the tree that it might be more likely to sprout up again.
And let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth - Here is a change evidently from the tree to something represented by the tree. We could not say of a tree that its "portion was with the beasts in the grass," though in the confused and incongruous images of a dream, nothing would be more natural than such a change from a tree to some object represented by it, or having some resemblance to it. It is probable that it was this circumstance that particularly attracted the attention of the monarch, for though the dream began with a "tree," it ended with reference to "a person," and evidently some one whose station would be well represented by such a magnificent and solitary tree. The sense here is, "let him share the lot of beasts; let him live as they do:" that is, let him live on grass. Compare Daniel 4:25.
on Daniel 4 :15