on Daniel 4 :35
on Daniel 4 :35
And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing - Are regarded as nothing in comparison with him. Compare Isaiah 40:15, note 17, note. Precisely the same sentiment occurs in Isaiah which is expressed here: "All nations before him are as nothing; and they are accounted unto him less than nothing and vanity."
And he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven - In the host of heaven - בחיל bechēyol - Greek, "in the power of heaven," ἐν τῇ, δυνάμει en tē, dunamei. The Chaldee word means properly strength, might, valor; and it is then applied to an army as possessing strength, or valor, or force. It is here applied to the inhabitants of heaven, probably considered as an army or host, of which God is the head, and which he leads forth or marshals to execute his puroses. In Daniel 3:20, the word is rendered "army." The sentiment here is, that in respect to the inhabitants of heaven, represented as organized or marshalled, God does his own pleasure. An intimation of his will is all that is needful to control them. This sentiment is in accordance with all the statements in the Scripture, and is a point of theology which must enter into every just view of God. Thus in the Lord's prayer it is implied: "Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven." So Ephesians 1:11 - "Who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." In heaven the will of God is accomplished in the most strict and absolute sense, for his will is law, and the only law to all the dwellers there. The obedience is as entire as if the will of each one of the dwellers there were but a form or manifestation of the will of God itself.
And among the inhabitants of the earth - This cannot mean, even as understood by Nebuchadnezzar, that the will of God is actually done among the inhabitants of the earth in the same sense, and to the same extent, as among those who dwell in heaven. His design was, undoubtedly, to assert the supremacy and absolute control of God; a fact that had been so strikingly illustrated in his own case. The sentiment expressed by Nebuchadnezzar is true in the following respects:
(1) That man has no power to prevent the fulfillment of the Divine purposes.
(2) That God will accomplish his design in all things, whatever opposition man may make.
(3) That he has absolute control over every human being, and over all that pertains to anyone and everyone.
(4) That he will overrule all things so as to make them subservient to his own plans.
(5) That he will make use of men to accomplish his own purposes. Compare the note at Isaiah 10:7.
(6) That there is a great and glorious scheme of administration which God is carrying out by the instrumentality of men.
And none can stay his hand - literally, "none can smite upon his hand" (Gesenius, "Lex."); that is, none can restrain his hand. The language is taken, says Bertholdt, from the custom of striking children upon the hand when about to do anything wrong, in order to restrain them. The phrase is common in the Targums for to restrain, to hinder. The Arabs have a similar expression in common use. See numerous instances of the use of the word מחא mechâ' in the sense of restrain or prohibit, in Buxtorf. - "Lex. Chal." The truth taught here is, that no one has power to keep back the hand of God when it is put forth to accomplish the purposes which he intends to execute; that is, he will certainly accomplish his own pleasure.
Or say unto him, What doest thou? - A similar expression occurs in 2 Samuel 16:10 : "So let him curse, because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?" Also in Job 9:12 : "Behold, he taketh away: Who can hinder him? Who will say unto him, What doest thou?" See the note at that passage. The meaning here is plain. God is supreme, and will do his pleasure in heaven and in earth. The security that all will be done right is founded on the perfection of his nature; and that is ample. Mysterious though his ways may seem to us, yet in that perfection of his nature we have the fullest assurance that no wrong will be done to any of his creatures. Our duty, therefore, is calm submission to his holy will, with the deep conviction that whatever God does will yet be seen to be right.
on Daniel 4 :35